London: One million cases of obesity could be prevented by reducing the amount of sugar in sweetened drinks and fruit juices by 40 per cent over a five-year period, a new study has claimed. According to the study, the move may also stop 300,000 cases of diabetes in the UK as well as 500,000 fewer cases of people being overweight, PTI reports.
Fizzy drinks contain up to 10 teaspoons of added sugar and Public Health England has recommended imposing a sugar tax between 10 and 20 per cent, ‘IB Times’ reported. “An incremental reduction in free sugars added to sugar-sweetened beverages without the use of artificial sweeteners is predicted to reduce the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and type 2 diabetes,” researchers wrote in the study published in the journal Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.
“The proposed strategy should be implemented immediately, and could be used in combination with other approaches, such as taxation policies, to produce a more powerful effect ,” they said. Researchers said a sugar tax on carbonated beverages in Mexico in 2014 achieved strong results, with sales cut by 12 per cent in the first year the measure was introduced. “Sugary drinks are the biggest source of sugar in young people’s diets,” Public Health England’s chief nutritionist, Alison Tedstone was quoted as saying.
“We believe a programme to reduce the sugar from the sweetest drinks alongside other measures like controls on advertising and marketing ? would lead to a significant drop in the amount of calories consumed,” Tedstone said. However, the British Soft Drink Association (BDSA)’s director general, Gavin Partington, said there was “no evidence that a tax on soft drinks would have an impact on obesity.”