Diabetes and the new sugar tax

From today, the start of the new financial year, there is a new tax on sugary drinks. This new tax, which is known as the Sugar Tax, is added to drinks that contain more than a certain amount of sugar.

supermarket shelves full of soft drinks affected by the sugar tax

The Government and health campaigners hope the new measure will cause a decline in obesity and the risk of diabetes.

Diabetes UK also support this tax as they see it as a way to reduce the numbers of people suffering from Type 2 Diabetes and to help diabetics manage their diabetes better.

The tax applies to manufacturers who can pass it on to retailers and consumers. Drinks which contain more than 5g of sugar per 100ml will pay a fee of 18p per litre, drinks which contain over 8g of per 100ml the tax will be 24p per litre. However, for the moment, fruit juices which do not carry added sugars and milk products will be exempt from paying the Sugar Tax.

For example;

  • Coca-Cola¬†contains 35g of sugar in a 330ml can of classic Coca-Cola
  • Pepsi contains 36g of sugar in a 330ml can of Pepsi
  • Fanta contains 15g of sugar in 330ml can of Fanta
  • Red Bull contains 27g of sugar per 250ml can of Red Bull Energy Drink

It is hoped that the sugar tax will encourage drink companies to cut down on the amount of sugar in drinks and help encourage consumers to choose lower sugar alternatives.

According to the Treasury, more than 50% of manufacturers have changed their formulas to cut sugar ahead of the sugar tax.

  • Ribena is said to have cut its sugar content from 10g to less than 4.5g per 100ml
  • Irn-Bru is said to have cut its sugar content from 8.5 teaspoons to four
  • Lucozade is said to have cut its sugar from 13g to less than 4.5g per 100ml
  • Supermarkets, such as Tesco, Asda, Morrison’s and Co-Op, are also reported to have reduced their sugar contents in their own-label soft drinks to come in below the sugar tax requirements.

The money raised from the sugar tax will be used to help fund healthy school breakfast clubs as well as sport in schools. However, here in Gwynedd, I have to pay 80p for my first two children if they attend breakfast club to pay for the childcare of watching them unless they arrive between 8.40am and 8.45am.

Personally I, along with many other Brits, would rather see the money from this sugar tax used to help the NHS as they are the ones who have to deal with all the medical complications which comes from obesity and diabetes caused by too much sugar.

Whilst it is a good idea, it is worth making a note that reducing the sugar in some drinks may have an impact in diabetics who are using sugary drinks to treat a hypo (low blood sugar).

If you do use a sugary drink to treat a hypo you need to check the sugar content of your drink of choice. For example, Lucozade new recipe now contains less than 50% fewer glucose-based carbohydrates than before, which means you need to drink more Lucozade to treat your hypo successfully.

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