A sugar tax will be introduced in 2018, announced chancellor George Osbourne in his 2016 budget.
The tax will be levied on the volume of the sugar-sweetened drinks companies produce or import and the government says it will raise £530m which will be spent on primary school sports in England, with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland free to decide how to spend their share.
The tax is expected to be the equivalent of about 18-24p per litre and the Office for Budget Responsibility says it could result in a “pretty substantial price rise” on products – as much as 80% on, for example, a two-litre bottle of own-brand cola.
There will be two bands – one for total sugar content above 5 grams per 100 millilitres (roughly 1 teaspoon of sugar); a second, higher band for the most sugary drinks with more than 8 grams per 100 millilitres (about 2 teaspoons of sugar). The exact levels of the taxes are yet to be set.
Examples of drinks which would currently fall under the higher rate of the sugar tax include regular Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Lucozade Energy and Irn-Bru.
The tax will not apply to fruit juices or milk-based drinks.
I support the sugar tax in principle, although I would prefer it was a junk food tax and not only applied to soft drinks. I also have concerns that it will simply shift consumption from full sugar products to those with artificial sweeteners.
Will the sugar tax create a new health crisis?
In 2014 it was reported that low-calorie artificial sweeteners actually RAISE the risk of obesity.
The Israeli researchers said that ‘today’s massive, unsupervised consumption’ of artificial sweeteners needs to be reassessed.
In a study of almost 400 people, the researchers linked artificial sweetener with being fatter and having glucose intolerance. The really scary thing is that volunteers who didn’t normally eat or drink artificially-sweetened foods began to become glucose intolerant after JUST FOUR DAYS of consumption.
Other research shows a host of side-effects linked with artificial sweeteners.
One of the most popular artificial sweeteners, Aspartame, is shown to cause weight gain; headaches; seizures; nausea; trouble sleeping; vision problems; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; anxiety and depression.
Sucralose (also known by the brand name Splenda) has recently been linked with an increased risk of leukaemia and other cancers.
If the goal of this sugar tax is to increase the health of our nation and combat obesity, then I truly believe that more education on nutrition is needed. It is a shame the government is not proposing to spend the sugar tax revenue to educate children and families about the benefits of eating REAL FOOD instead of processed crap.
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