In Britain, the role of sugar in the nation’s health has triggered a national debate. CCTV America’s Richard Bestic reported this story from London.
Sugar comes at us in many forms, from fizzy drinks in a can, to the romance of chocolates in a gift box, to a ready meal for those in a rush.
“The power of the food industry is so great, and the advertising, marketing potential of these companies is so great that people can’t resist it, particularly the more socially deprived,” Professor Graham MacGregor from Action on Sugar said.
The result, according to health experts, is globally rising levels of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
It’s prompted the World Health Organization to cut in half the recommended daily diet of sugar intake to 5 percent of all the calories we consume.
However, a global study of tooth decay concludes the figure should be even lower, at 3 percent. The authors of the report said it’s needed to limit the health and financial costs of tooth decay.
“Tooth decay is a major problem in most countries. It accounts for between five and ten percent of the health budget, and is entirely preventable if you reduce the amount of sugar you take in,” said Aubrey Sheiham a professor at University College London.
The dental costs associated with sugar are too much for many, even in the world’s richest country, the United States, where dental field clinics run by volunteers find themselves inundated.
In Britain, activists believe less sugar in all foods will pay huge health dividends. Reducing the amount of sugar in what people eat will be a challenge, in part because the international food industry is a powerful lobbying group. The World Health Organization’s recommendations on sugar intake, while sweet news for the scientific community, is far from a done deal.