UK sugar tax aimed at fighting obesity

fizzy-sugarA tax on sugar-sweetened drinks will become law in the UK from April next year, following the government’s publishing of draft legislation this week. There will be two bands – one for soft drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml and a higher one for drinks with more than 8g per 100ml.

Ministers hope it will help tackle the nation’s obesity problem, the BBC reports and the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates the levy could add 18p to 24p to the price of a litre of fizzy drink if the full cost is passed on to the consumer. This amounts to an extra 6p on a regular can of Fanta and Sprite, and an extra 8p on a regular can of Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Irn-Bru.

According to the NHS, there is 35g of sugar in a 330ml can of Coca-Cola – equivalent to seven teaspoons, while the recommended maximum intake of sugar per day for those aged 11+ is 30g.

Many companies have already begun cutting the amount of sugar in their drinks but Chancellor expects to raise £520m from this levy in the first year alone.

Pure fruit juices will be exempt – but health officials stress people should limit consumption of these beverages to no more than 150ml per day.

Likewise, sugary milkshake and yogurt drinks will also be excluded. Ministers were concerned that teenagers, particularly girls, were not getting enough calcium and so taxing these drinks might be counterproductive.

The government has said it expects the levy to raise £520m in the first year.

Health campaigners have broadly welcomed the initiative with Dr Max Davie, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, telling the BBC: “The sugary drinks that will be affected by this tax have no nutritional benefit and often contain levels of sugar that are above a child’s daily recommended limit. These drinks are a major contributor to the high sugar intakes of children, particularly teenagers, and we are in no doubt that they are, in part, contributing to this country’s obesity crisis.”

Cancer Research UK estimates a 20% tax on sugary drinks could prevent 3.7 million cases of obesity over the next decade – something the soft drinks industry rejects with Gavin Partington, of the British Soft Drinks Association, saying: “There is no evidence worldwide that taxes of this sort reduce obesity, and it is ironic that soft drinks are being singled out for tax when we’ve led the way in reducing sugar intake, down over 17% since 2012.”

Many people say they are ‘addicted’ so sugary drinks and breaking this habit – like quitting smoking – is not easy. Eliminating such problem behaviours, however, can be done with clinical hypnotherapy.

Says the National Council for Hypnotherapy: “An unwanted habit or addiction is something you feel you have no control over which affects your life and can cause a health risk.

“But the good news is that you are in control and you can change how you react to certain situations, and you can protect yourself in ways that are healthy and which allow you succeed and grow stronger in body and mind. You just need to know how to change it, and to believe you can.”

The NCH adds that when seeing a therapist for weight problems, bad habits or dietary disorders, the therapist will ask questions about when you eat or drink, what you eat or drink and what triggers you to desire that food or drink – be it chocolates or sugary soft drinks.

Food and drink – what we eat and what we drink – are a big part of our lives and both are essential to our survival, says the NCH. Sometimes we need to relearn to connect with food and drink in a healthy way.

The reason why hypnotherapy works so rapidly, adds the NCH, is because it works directly with your subconscious, bypassing the critical mind and getting to the root of the issue so that changes can be made.

If you are worried about your eating habits or an apparent ‘addiction’ to sugary drinks, contact a qualified hypnotherapist near you by using the NCH directory – which can link you to one of the 1,800 therapists on its register. It can be a life-changing decision.