We asked our SCPN team and friends what they thought was the most interesting paper that had come across their desks this year. Our final paper of 2019 has been nominated by SCPN co-director Professor Annie S. Anderson, who has chosen a progress report on the sugar reduction programme between 2015 and 2018.

Sugar reduction: Report on progress between 2015 and 2018

Public Health England

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sugar-reduction-progress-between-2015-and-2018

Why this paper?

High sugar intakes are associated dental caries and weight gain. Excess body fat and weight gain in adult life are associated with at least 13 cancers. The UK government is apparently committed to a sugar reduction programme but this is largely voluntary apart from sugary drinks which are subject to the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL).

The review published by Public Health England in September on progress on sugar reduction in foods available for purchase shows there is much to do to reach the ambition of 20% reduction (by reformulation) by 2020. The overall change between 2015 and 2018 has been 2.9% reduction. Some foods (but not many!) have shown bigger changes (breakfast cereals (8.5% reduction), and yogurts and fromage frais (10.3% reduction). However, some foods have also increased in sugar including puddings and sweet confectionery. So much for voluntary reductions by industry.

When it comes to sugary drinks with a new taxation process…. Significant decreases have been seen with a reduction of 28.8% between 2015 and 2018.

Conclusion… Nanny knows best!