New Action on Sugar group formed

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More action is happening on sugar.
More action is happening on sugar.

A new group, Action on Sugar, has been formed by a number of leading worldwide experts, with the hope to educate the public on the dangers of hidden sugars and raise awareness of the ‘un-necessary’ amounts of sugar added to our foods and drinks, a large reason behind the growing obesity crisis.

Latest figures show more than three in every 10 children starting primary school do so with tooth decay, while a third of children aged 12 have visible dental decay.

As Bite reported at the end of last year, a study by Newcastle University researchers into the effects of sugars on our oral health recommends cutting down on the sweet additive as part of a global initiative to reduce tooth decay. Since 1990 the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended that intake of “free sugars” should be less than 10 per cent of total energy (calorie) intake. Free sugars are sugars that are added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer; plus those naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, welcomed the formation of the group, given the adverse effect large amounts of sugar has on oral health.

Dr Carter said: “Health professionals have long held the opinion that sugar is addictive, and it is pleasing to see so many leading health experts come together to tackle the problem.

“Consuming too many sugary foods and drinks can potentially increase the risk of dental erosion and tooth decay. The increase in consumption of sugary drinks is one of the key reasons for tooth decay.

“The idea that too much sugar is bad for health is not a new concept, yet it is surprising how many people seem to ignore the message. The additional cost of dental treatment from untreated tooth decay is also a growing problem. Cutting back on regular visits may seem like a good idea on the wallet, but the potential cost of emergency treatment is even higher.

“Visiting the dentist regularly and cutting down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks are two of the Foundation’s key messages. Following them – and brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste – may help to reduce rising levels of decay in children and adults in the UK.”

Emeritus Professor Aubrey Sheiham from the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University College London, a global expert advisor of Action on Sugar said: “Free sugars are the main cause of the most common disease in the world; dental caries. If any dietary product were to cause decay of any other part of the body, it would have been severely controlled. Yet sugars decay the hardest human tissue – teeth – and very little is done about controlling sugars. Therefore, policies should be formulated to develop products, such as baby foods and other food products and drinks that have no added sugars.”

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