” Right now, there’s a Sugardemic threatening the health of our kids, with skyrocketing rates of obesity threatening to make this generation the first one to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.
But the food industry tries to bamboozle us with dozens of different names for sugar. Busy shoppers can’t tell at a glance how much added sugar is in their food. It’s time for clear labeling of added sugar.
Health ministers from around the country will meet today November 24. This is our chance to get real change.
For once, it would be nice for the Health Ministers to make a decision that favours public health rather than the food manufacturers. “
” The consumption of sugar is much higher in Indigenous populations. In fact, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people consume 15 grams (almost 4 teaspoons) more free sugars on average than non-Indigenous people.
Beverages is the most common source of free sugar for both populations. Two thirds of all the free sugars consumed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people came from beverages, mostly in the form of soft drinks, sports and energy drinks. “
” The Sugary Drinks Proper No Good – Drink More Water Youfla campaign is a social marketing campaign developed with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Cape York. It aims to help children, young people and adults be more aware of the poor health outcomes associated with consumption of sugary drinks, as recommended by community members during initial consultations for this project.
Regular consumption of sugary drinks is a key contributing factor in development of tooth decay, overweight and obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease for both young people and adults. 1-4
One of the key messages of this campaign is water is the best drink for everyone – it doesn’t have any sugar and keeps our bodies healthy.
The Sugary Drinks Proper No Good – Drink More Water Youfla campaign materials are designed to encourage Cape York community members to rethink drink choices and choose water or healthier options instead of sugary drinks like soft drinks, fruit drinks and sports drinks. This will help keep kids, families and communities healthy and strong. Campaign materials feature former professional rugby league player, Scott Prince, promoting the Sugary Drinks Proper No Good – Drink More Water Youfla messages.
This Cape York campaign is linked to the national Rethink Sugary Drink campaign through Apunipima’s membership of the Rethink Sugary Drinks Alliance. The Alliance aims to raise awareness of the amount of sugar in sugar-sweetened drinks and encourages all Australians to reduce their consumption.
The ” PHAA is inviting members and other interested parties to a Forum on improving the Health Star Rating (HSR) on Monday 27 November 2017 at Mercure Canberra.
Most importantly, the overall goal will be to consider ways that the HSR can be used to improve diets in Australia and New Zealand.
In Australia, food labels will only tell you the total sugar in a product, not the added stuff. And you can’t rely on the ingredient list because there are over 43 different names for added sugar.
It’s essential that people can easily tell the difference between foods with naturally occurring sugars, like lactose in yoghurt, and added sugars which have virtually no nutritional benefits. Currently this is virtually impossible.
The World Health Organisation and our Dietary Guidelines recommend we reduce our added sugar intake on the basis that overconsumption of added sugars presents serious health issues.
A CHOICE investigation found that added sugar labelling could help consumers avoid 26 teaspoons of unnecessary sugar per day – that’s up to 38 kilograms a year!
At their most recent meeting, Food Ministers renewed their commitment to improve the health of Australians. They want to help people make healthy food choices. Sugar labelling is a necessary step to achieving this.
” Aboriginal , Consumer and Public Health organisations are calling on Health Ministers to make a decision at their meeting today November 24, to ensure that food companies are required to clearly label added sugar on their products.”
Matthew Hopcraft is a clinical associate professor, dental public health expert, co-founder of SugarFree Smiles and the CEO of the Australian Dental Association (Victorian Branch).
So far, more than 20,000 people have contacted their State or Territory Health Minister calling on them to support added sugar labelling (data collected by Choice).
This is a critical issue. The average Australian teenager consumes up to 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day, and one in 10 teenagers has a staggering 38 teaspoons of sugar daily. No wonder diet-related diseases are so prevalent. One third of Australian children have tooth decay by the age of six, rising to 40 percent by the age of 12-14 years, and one in four children are overweight or obese.
The problem for consumers is that there is no way for them to know how much added sugar is in the foods that they buy. The ingredient list on the packet seems like a good place to start — the higher up the list, the more sugar it is likely to contain. But added sugar can be disguised on the label under more than 40 different names, making it hard for the consumer to decipher.
We probably all know that sugar, sucrose and glucose are sugars. But do we really know or think of honey, fruit juice concentrate, agave nectar, panela, maltose or rice syrup as added sugars? Furthermore, the nutrition panel doesn’t distinguish added sugars from those sugars that are naturally occurring in food, such as fructose in fruit or lactose in milk.
It is this added sugar, over and above the naturally occurring sugar, that is causing these health problems. This was clearly identified by the World Health Organisation in their report on added sugars in 2015. They showed good evidence that reducing the amount of added sugar to less than 12 teaspoons per day reduces the risk of obesity and tooth decay, and a further reduction to less than six teaspoons per day would provide additional health benefits.
At present it is almost impossible for consumers to know whether they are exceeding these limits, because there is not sufficient information on the food labels to guide them.
Eating whole real foods is the simplest way to avoid added sugar, but the reality is that people are consuming more processed food than ever before.
Right now, the food industry is winning this debate because they don’t have to declare the amount of added sugar in their products, so Australian consumers are unable to make healthy choices for their families.
Naturally, industry will argue strongly against this proposed regulation, in the same way that they also oppose a sugar tax and regulations on advertising and marketing — all measures that would improve health outcomes.
For once, it would be nice for the Health Ministers to make a decision that favours public health rather than the food manufacturers.