There’s been much talked about since George Osborne announced the Sugar Tax as part of the Budget on Wednesday (and then Jamie Oliver did a little victory dance whilst, conveniently, being in the general Westminster area at the same time).
Now I’m not one to get overly political about things like this and I’m not going to start now, but looking at the limited details which have come out so far, I think from a health perspective there’s a lot more that can be done.
When sugar is taken in, through food and drink, it helps create the fuel that we use for energy. As part of the energy balance, if we take on more than we use, the remaining will get stored as fat.
We know that there’s a current obesity epidemic causing a squeeze on NHS resources, and sugar is contributing to that, so reducing the amount of sugar in drinks would be a good place to start but that won’t account for all the other foods containing worrying amounts of sugar and the effect it has on the body.
I think a re-education programme around healthy eating and habit formation/ change would be more beneficial, and it would help future generations as the knowledge is passed on.
The money raised through the tax is going to be invested into primary school sports. I’m not denying that this is a great idea, as it will give more children sporting opportunities, I just think the money could be better spent on education and knowledge to help people gain a better awareness of sugar and the health implications associated with it.
Now, I like a cheeky can of sugary soft drink as much as the next person, but I also know that it has absolutely no nutritional benefit to my body. I know this because of the industry I work in, the courses that I’ve been on and the fact that I like to read about food and what goes into it.
That’s not me being a smart arse, but I know a lot of people out there don’t have a clue. Partly because they don’t want to know or don’t have the time to find out, but partly because we get such mixed messages through the media about what we should be eating/ avoiding on a daily basis – we need to ensure people know that an occasional treat should be seen as just that. One can of soft drink isn’t going to make you obese, the same way as one salad won’t make you stick thin. It’s all about balance – a healthy approach to eating and exercise.
Here’s hoping that the drinks manufacturers use this as an opportunity to look at the sugar content on their drinks and reduce the amount they use, meaning they wouldn’t be hit with a new tax and the levels of sugar we’re consuming would go down as well.