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As part of its effort to reduce childhood obesity in the United Kingdom, Public Health England (PHE) has issued a voluntary guidance for food manufacturers on methods for reducing the sugar content in a variety of food categories.
Published in March, the PHE report sets out guidelines for the food industry on how to achieve by the year 2020 a 20% reduction in the sugar content of foods that provide the majority of sugar in the diets of children up 18 years of age. The food categories covered in the PHE report include: biscuits; breakfast cereals; cakes; chocolate confectionary; ice cream, lollies and sorbets; morning goods (such as pastries and waffles); puddings (including pies and tarts); sweet confectionary; sweet spreads and sauces; and yoghurt and fromage frais.
Notably, the report suggests that cutting portion sizes may be the most effective way of reducing sugars in food products, since some products may have limited options for reformulation.
The PHE notes that reducing the sugar content of foods consumed by children is likely to have a beneficial effect on adult family members as well, since families generally eat the same food. Further, the PHE says that the reduction in sugar content may also help to reduce health inequalities because obesity rates tend to be highest among economically-deprived children and their families.
The complete text of Public Health England’s report on sugar reduction is available here.