Diabetes

Action on Sugar calls for sugar tax to extend to all sweets

Health campaigners are urging the UK sugar tax to be extended to sweets and not just soft drinks in a bid to tackle obesity.

The charity Action on Sugar has released a manifesto outlining what it thinks are among the biggest threats to the health of the nation.

Among the points, the group is calling on the government to force confectionery manufacturers to cut the amount sugar their products contain.

The UK sugar tax, which will be introduced next year, will include two bands, one for total sugar content in drinks above 5g per 100 millilitres and a second, higher band for the most sugary drinks with more than 8g per 100 millilitres.

Action on Sugar said sweets and chocolate account for nine per cent of sugar which is consumed by children aged between four and 10. The amount goes up to 11 per cent for young people aged between 11 and 18.

The number of children at primary school who are considered obese is currently one in 10. There are fears those numbers could increase unless urgent action is taken to curb obesity rates, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Graham McGregor, Action on Sugar’s chairman, said: “Action on Sugar is urging the next government to implement a mandatory sugar levy on all confectionery products that contain high levels of sugar to ensure maximum impact to help tackle the obesity and type 2 diabetes crisis.

“The levy should be structured by the Treasury as per the soft drinks industry levy, whereby it is aimed at manufacturers to encourage them to reduce sugar in their overall product ranges,” added McGregor. “The next government needs to bring in tough measures to ensure compliance and put public health before the profits of the food industry.”

Dentists have also backed the campaign as reducing children’s sugar content will lower tooth decay rates.

Mick Armstrong, chair of the British Dental Association, said: “Ministers keep giving the impression that it’s ‘mission accomplished’ on sugar controls.

“Dentists are confronting an epidemic of tooth decay and government must show it is prepared to go further on advertising, reformulation targets and through the tax system.”

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Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common long-term health conditions
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common long-term health conditions

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that results in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) due to the body:

  • Being ineffective at using the insulin it has produced; also known as insulin resistance and/or
  • Being unable to produce enough insulin

Type 2 diabetes is characterised by the body being unable to metabolise glucose (a simple sugar). This leads to high levels of blood glucose which over time may damage the organs of the body.

From this, it can be understood that for someone with diabetes something that is food for ordinary people can become a sort of metabolic poison.

This is why people with diabetes are advised to avoid sources of dietary sugar.

The good news is for very many people with type 2 diabetes this is all they have to do to stay well. If you can keep your blood sugar lower by avoiding dietary sugar, likely you will never need long-term medication.

Type 2 diabetes was formerly known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes due to its occurrence mainly in people over 40. However, type 2 diabetes is now becoming more common in young adults, teens and children and accounts for roughly 90% of all diabetes cases worldwide.

How serious is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a serious medical condition that often requires the use of anti-diabetic medication, or insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. However, the development of type 2 diabetes and its side effects (complications) can be prevented if detected and treated at an early stage.

In recent years, it has become apparent that many people with type 2 diabetes are able to reverse diabetes through methods including low-carb diets, very-low-calorie diets and exercise.

For guidance on healthy eating to improve blood glucose levels and weight and to fight back against insulin resistance, join the Low Carb Program.

Following pre-diabetes or metabolic disorder, type 2 diabetes can potentially be avoided through diet and exercise.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the hormone insulin is not used effectively by the cells in your body. Insulin is needed for cells to take in glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream and convert it into energy.

Ineffective use of insulin results in the body becoming resistant to insulin – also known as insulin resistance, which in turn causes blood sugar levels to rise (hyperglycemia).

In advanced stages, type 2 diabetes may cause damage to insulin producing cells in the pancreas, leading to insufficient insulin production for your body’s needs.

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