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Opinion: Sugar Tax on Soft Drinks - A Sweet Success?

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On Friday 6th April 2018, the sugar tax on soft drinks came into force in the UK to combat rising rates of obesity, particularly in children. Sugary drinks account for a whopping 20% of sugar consumed and the government has introduced this levy to crackdown on this.

Drinks that contain more than 8g of sugar per 100ml will be charged at a rate that will equate to an extra 24p per litre and between 5-8g will be another 18p per litre. Pure fruit juice with its natural nutritional value will be exempt.

Most people know that sugar in excess is extremely bad for your health. It has been said that sugar is the equivalent of alcohol for kids and it is extremely difficult to break that dependency later on in life. Reflected in their sugar highs and then lows with irritable craving demands, we think that sounds about right! At the end of 2017, nearly 10% of children in reception classes were considered obese, rising to one-fifth by the time they finish primary school. We want to see change in that. Here at EatFirst, we support the Sugar Tax on soft drinks as a step in the right direction for a happier, healthier future.

Chef Benn comments;

‘Soft drinks were always a treat on school holidays for me when I was growing up and going to school. My parents had a blanket ban on them at any other time. A school friend of mine’s younger brother had completely rotten teeth because of how much coke he drank - which I thought was terrible. His would always say “they’re my baby teeth and will fall out anyway”. That’s not really the right attitude.

My mother was very nutritionally aware when I was growing up. Now as an adult I totally support and agree with her stance. I think the tax will be beneficial if they make sure it is used to fund education and clever initiatives to improve kids’ diets.’  

In fact, the new tax should be a positive money-raising exercise as the funds raised will go to the Department for Education to support excellent initiatives such as the School Breakfast Programme.

Importantly, it has already encouraged manufacturers to cut down their sugar levels in soft drinks, with 50% having already done so. Irn-Bru has really led the charge and will hopefully encourage other major drinks companies to follow suit.

We’re not saying sugar is the devil’s work; we love the occasional treat! Sugar can certainly form part of a balanced, happy and interesting diet (have you seen our delicious range of desserts?!) but excessive, unnecessary consumption of cheap sugary drinks is proving to be highly damaging to our nation.

As big supporters in making the world a healthier and happier place, try our Anti-Sugar Tax Drink (or Green Detox as it’s better known). This expertly blended combination of kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, celery, cucumber and lemon tastes like a fresh salad.

You'll feel fuller for longer and be fresher on the inside; much better than drinking a can of Irn-Bru!


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