Is the glass half full or half empty when it comes to regulating sugary drinks?
Now that the truth about “fizzy pop” and sweet “fruit juices” is known, surely people can be left to make their own judgement on how and when to consume these products. Or can they?Recent studies have claimed that drinks such as Coca-Cola are completely incompatible with a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, worrying statistics surrounding the problem of childhood obesity and the susceptibility of the young to the marketing of these drinks has left many calling for a more proactive approach to curbing the drinks we consume.
With a third of children aged 10 to 11 now overweight in this country, there has been a suggestion that legislation may be needed to bring consumption levels down. While it is understood that drinks are not solely responsible for increased calorie intake, it is widely accepted that both children and adults are consuming more than the recommended maximum of two sugary drinks per day.
UK fizzy drink facts: - We drink more than 6 million litres of fizzy drinks a year - Sugary drinks cause dental erosion and tooth decay - Fizzy drinks can contain up to 21 lumps of sugar per serving
One campaign group, Action for Sugar, has presented the government with a comprehensive list of changes they would like to see to discourage fizzy beverages. A “sugar tax” in drinks, similar to the added tax attached to cigarettes was just one of the suggestions made. Another point was a ban on advertising before the watershed to protect children.
The campaign also wished to see less drinks companies sponsoring sporting events, as it creates an illusion that big beverage brands are compatible with elite sports and a healthy lifestyle.
Professor Graeme MacGregor of Action on Sugar said: “Obesity in children leads to the premature development of cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attacks and heart failure, which are the most common cause of death and disability in the UK. But the current policies are not working.”
Meanwhile, Susan Jebb, professor of diet and population health at the University of Oxford, believes the best approach is for parents to keep sugary drinks off the meal table. She said: “Choose something else – drink water. Once they have been weaned, they should be drinking water.”
What all parties agree, however, is that changing the culture of sugary drinks requires a longer, concerted approach of educating and informing families to get children away from beverages packed with sugar, sweeteners, caffeine and an array of harmful chemicals.
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