IF you drink a lot of Coke or Pepsi and you’re overweight then the reason is obvious: A glass of the dark fizzy stuff contains 35 grams of sugar – that’s about seven teaspoons. And as everyone knows (but a lot of people choose to ignore) added sugar is a major cause of weight problems because it messes up your hormonal balance and makes you eat more.
So I was pleased to read that Tesco has announced it is halving the amount of added sugar in its own-brand soft drinks.
The news came as the British Medical Journal magazine Open revealed its own study into sugar in fizzy drinks. The BMJ discovered that own-brand drinks contain much less sugar than branded ones, even before the new reductions being made.
Supermarket colas on average contain 28g of sugar per glass, while branded products contained 31.6g, the study says.
More than half of all soft drinks exceed the adult’s daily recommendation for sugar intake of 30g. And 73 per cent exceed the daily recommended allowance for children of 24g.
Action on Sugar, who commissioned the study, are calling on companies to follow Tesco’s lead and reduce sugar content in their fizzy and soft drinks to below 5g per 100ml.
Kawther Hashem, co-author of the study and researcher for Action on Sugar at Queen Mary University of London, said: “It’s not possible to state that carbonated sugar-sweetened drinks can be consumed as part of a ‘healthy, balanced diet,’ even though drinks companies claim it can be.
“Cola is the most popular flavour in the UK, owing to the huge volume consumed; even small reductions would have a significant impact on free sugars and calorie intake of the population.
“We hope the soft drinks industry levy will make drinks manufacturers reduce the levels of sugar in their products immediately and help reduce our risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and dental caries.”