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Children’s sugar intake nearly halved by sugar tax

The sugar tax nearly halved children's daily sugar intake from soft drinks within a year of being introduced, according to a study.

The sugar tax nearly halved children’s daily sugar intake from soft drinks within a year of being introduced, according to a study.

Following the sugar tax’s implementation in April 2018, the study looked at the sugar intake of 7,999 adults and 7,656 children from 2008 to 2019.

Also known as the UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy, the sugar tax requires manufacturers of drinks with over 5g of sugar per 100ml to pay a levy.

The findings showed that free sugars consumption from soft drinks fell ‘steeply’ from 27g per day to just 10g following the implementation of the tax.

In addition, the total dietary free sugars fell from 70g to 45g a day for children and 60g to 45g a day for adults.

Overall, children’s daily consumption of free sugars fell by 4.8g following the tax, the equivalent of one teaspoon. For adults, it fell by 10.9g – around two and a half teaspoons.

As a result of these findings, experts have said that expanding the tax to cover other food and drinks, eg cereal, is a ‘no brainer’.

Sugar intake still above recommended amount

Despite this drop in the sugar consumption of adults and children, it is still above the recommended amount. As a result, it’s leading to high levels of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

This comes as a recent study found that obesity may contribute to 40% of new cancer cases. The disease was also linked to 32 different types of cancer.

The World Health Organization and UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition recommend adults limit sugar intake to 30g a day. In addition, it should be 24g for seven to 10-year-olds and 19g for four to six-year-olds.

Nina Roger is the study’s lead author. She said: ‘The sugar tax is not a silver bullet but it has been shown to be successful in terms of a reduction in sugar consumption and purchasing as well as being associated with reductions in childhood tooth extractions and asthma and obesity in year six girls.

‘I would recommend that it be used alongside a raft of public health prevention measures to improve population health.’

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