Sugar tax comes into effect in the UK

Jack Woodfield
Fri, 06 Apr 2018
Sugar tax comes into effect in the UK
The long-awaited sugar tax has come into effect in the UK, meaning food and drink manufacturers have a financial incentive to reduce the amount of sugar in drinks.

Since the sugar tax was announced in 2016, manufacturers have been faced with the decision to either reformulate their products to reduce sugar quantity or stick with their existing high-sugar recipes and face a levy.

Drinks with 5g of sugar per 100ml will face a tax of 18p per litre, while those with more than 8g per 100ml will face a higher rate, 24p per litre.

The government's move is designed to reduce rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes, with childhood obesity levels continuing to rise in the UK. It is also hoped that the sugar tax will help improve children's oral health.

As evidenced by existing sugar taxes such as the one in Mexico, where a 10% tax on sugary drinks was introduced in 2014, sugar consumption has fallen for two straight years, and researchers are optimistic this will be reflected in reduced healthcare expenses.

Leading brands such as Irn-Bru, Fanta and Lucozade have already reduced the sugar content of their drinks. In the process Lucozade revealed that people with type 1 diabetes might need to change how they treat hypoglycemia. But other brands such as Coca-Cola have not reformulated their products.

Whether or not the levy is passed on to consumers is up to manufacturers, but it is believed everybody will pay more. For example, the price of a 1.75-litre bottle of supermarket cola could increase by 25%.

This is far from a bad thing though, as it provides incentive for people to swerve needless sugar intake and save money in the process.

Benedict Jephcote, Editor of Diabetes.co.uk, said: "Sugary drinks are undoubtedly popular for their taste, but we know that the benefits of the taste come with a very significant downside in terms of health.

"Research shows how negatively sugar affects the liver for instance, and the knock-on effects of too much sugar are known to raise risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes and many other health problems that have become so common."

On our Low Carb Program, which helps people at risk of or with existing type 2 diabetes to lose weight and improve their health, we show you how to enjoy healthy, tasty drinks without increasing your sugar intake.
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