Sugar content in soft drinks reduced thanks to sugar tax

Dental

Since the levied sugar tax, the number of drinks containing a substantial quantity of sugar has fallen from 49 per cent in September 2015 to 15 per cent in February 2019.

Although there has been little change in the number of products available and modifications in the size of the products, sugar content has decreased significantly. On top of this, researchers discovered the level of sugar in drinks, covered by the sugar tax, plummeted significantly faster than outside the levy.

“BDA appeals for government to introduce milk drinks and funding for oral health programmes following positive results in the reduction of sugar in soft drinks thanks to sugar tax. “

In light of this discovery, the British Dental Association (BDA) has appealed for the government to raise the levy to tackle obesity and tooth decay – encouraging them to introduce milk drinks and for funding to go to oral health programmes.

Researchers stated: “The Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) was associated with a large reduction in the percentage of soft drinks that are subject to the levy because of large reductions in the sugar levels of these drinks. There was no evidence for similar reductions in control SDIL exempt drinks. This suggests the SDIL was the motivating factor for this change. We found manufacturers weren’t directly passing the levy on to the consumer through commensurate increases in the prices of targeted drinks. Manufacturers and retailers appear to have taken the opportunity to undertake wider revision of their entire soft drink market offer. These changes could reduce population exposure to sugars and associated health risks.”

Mick Armstrong, BDA Chair, stated: “The sugar tax has earned its stripes as a weapon in the arsenal of any government interested in tackling preventable disease among children. The question now is: are ministers prepared to follow the evidence, double down and really reap the benefits? If we’re going to win the war against obesity and tooth decay, we must ring fence revenues from an expanded levy. Not left plugging holes in other budgets.”

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