The past few days have seen two sugar stories: one from Scotland and one from England. Although sugar has been talked about for quite some time now, it still makes the news.
In Scotland, Cancer Research UK reported that every day Scots buy 110 tonnes of sugar through promotions of unhealthy food and drinks. Promotions make us buy more and we definitely do not need any more sugar or calories in our diets.
In England, Action on Sugar exposed that many perceived ‘healthy’ cereal brands fail to include the Department of Health endorsed colour-coded labelling at the front of their packs despite some products containing high levels of sugar which would equate to a red label. How can we make a healthy choice if we don’t know what is in the food we buy?
As a result of the above and more, we eat almost 3 times the maximum recommended amount of sugar. And it is not good for us. So, what can we do about it?
What comes to mind first is: stop eating so much sugar! Easy to say, very difficult to do. It is almost impossible to resist cheap, extra, moreish treats that are present absolutely everywhere and all the time. It is hard to say no to such temptations. What is easier to do, is to eliminate the temptations. Some do it by excluding sugary foods and drinks from their weekly shop. Yet, they still have to resist them at work, schools, petrol stations, cafes, restaurants, train stations, airports, etc.
What is easier is to create an environment that does not tempt. We can do it by stopping promotions on unhealthy foods and drinks and stopping adverts for them. Imagine how different your diet could be if you did not see, hear and think about unhealthy food so many times a day. How different could your diet be if supermarkets did not discount and put the sugary, fatty and salty products right in front of you? You could actually buy only what you meant to buy.
New action to help us improve diet and health is needed. The Scottish Government is soon to publish a new Diet and Obesity Strategy. Let’s hope that it will have brave and responsible actions to create a healthy world for Scots.