The new ‘sugar tax’ hopes to tackle childhood obesity9 April, 2016
Chancellor George Osborne has announced a new sugar tax will be levied on the soft drinks industry in the UK as a part of his 2016 Budget.
The new tax will target high-sugar and fizzy drinks that are popular with children and teenagers as a method for tackling childhood obesity.
How does the sugar tax work?
The sugar tax will be imposed on companies according to volume and separated into two bands; there will be one tax for drinks with a total sugar content above 5g per 100 millilitres, and then a second, higher tax for drinks with more than 8g per 100 millilitres.
That means popular drinks like classic Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Lucozade Energy and Irn-Bru will all be subject to the new tax, along with drinks like Dr Pepper, Fanta, Sprite and Schweppes Indian tonic.
Right now, the new sugar tax only goes so far as to place a levy on sugary drinks; chocolate, candy bars, ice creams and other cakes and treats traditionally high in sugar have not been affected.
The reason for this has to do with education. Most people – including children – understand that when they eat cakes and candy bars they are enjoying ‘treats’ that aren’t meant to be eaten everyday.
For many of us, drinks escape our notice – we look at them as everyday staples rather than occasional treats and are mostly empty calories that offer no nutritional benefit.
For teenagers, sugary drinks are the number one source of sugar intake, while children get a third of their daily sugar intake just by drinking them.
The recommended maximum daily intake of sugar for those over the age of 11 is 30g – a 330ml can of Coca-Cola has 35g, the equivalent to 7 teaspoons of sugar.
Obesity, health and YourGP
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