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Warnings called for as sugar debate gets spicy

[5 Nov 2013] Our story in Pikestaff 64 about the huge quantity of refined sugar that healthy-food braggart Nestlé pumps into its cans of San Pellegrino lemonade – 32g, since you ask – was wrong in one respect. We said this was about twice as many teaspoonfuls as go into Coke. In fact, it’s a similar amount to what’s in a can of ordinary Coke and Pepsi. What fuddled us was not, as you may think, advanced sugar addiction, but Nestlé wrongly informing us that one teaspoon of sugar represented 1.8g (it’s usually considered to be 4g). No matter, our main facts were correct.

We said the link between added refined sugar and the obesity epidemic was now so clear that it was time to state the sugar quantity much more prominently on all products, instead of putting it in a reference position along with other fine detail. We argued that consumers should be able to see the sugar content immediately.

Since then, the media has been awash with stories about how the national waistline is being expanded by the sugar that manufacturers add to food and drink. The Sunday Times (25 Sept) labelled the UK ‘the fat man of Europe’, with 23% of the adult population obese, compared with half that figure in France. It said eight out of ten doctors in a Credit Suisse global survey regarded sugar consumption as linked to the development of obesity and type II diabetes.

The recommended maximum daily consumption of added and intrinsic sugar is 90g for a woman and 120g for a man. At that rate, a single can of Nestlé’s San Pellegrino Aranciata contains 40% of a woman’s daily allowance. A large Starbucks Coffee Frappuccino contains 61.6g, or 68% of a woman’s daily allowance. [cont]

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