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The sugar content of children’s and lunchbox beverages sold in the UK before and after the soft drink industry levy

Chu, B. T. Y., Irigaray, C. P., Hillier, S. E. and Clegg, M. E. (2020) The sugar content of children’s and lunchbox beverages sold in the UK before and after the soft drink industry levy. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 74. pp. 598-603. ISSN 0954-3007

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/s41430-019-0489-7


Background: Childhood obesity is associated with an increased intake of sugary soft drinks and juice drinks. The aims of this study were (1) to report the sugar and energy content in commercial fruit juice (FJ), juice drinks (JD) and smoothies (S) specifically targeted at children in the UK, (2) to identify beverages liable for the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) and (3) to compare the amount of sugar in these beverages before and after the levy. Methods: The beverages were retrieved using the online shopping tool my Supermarket, websites of nine major supermarket in the UK and manufacturers webpages. Comparisons of sugar content were taken before and after the introduction of the SDIL. Results: 131 FJJDS fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The mean sugar content of all the beverages was 6.3g±4.5/100mL. There was large variation in the sugar content from 0.1g/100mL to 15.2g/100mL, with smoothies found to contain the most sugar (11.55±1.62 g/mL). The beverages were reanalysed in September 2018 to determine their eligibility for the SDIL. Of the 131 products only 7 JD were eligible for the levy. Four of these beverages had reformulated their ingredients since the initial analysis resulting in a sugar content of <5g/100mL. Conclusions: The majority of the beverages targeted at children and children’s lunch boxes were not eligible for the SDIL. This study suggests the necessity to adapt the SDIL to include all FJJDS aimed at children as the total sugar content of these beverages are still above the recommended quantities for this age group.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Human Nutrition Research Group
ID Code:85179
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group


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