UK sugar tax linked to reduced sugar intake in children and adults

An analysis of 11 years of survey data, published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, reveals that daily sugar intake decreased by approximately 5 grams in children and 11 grams in adults in the year following the UK’s introduction of the “sugar tax,” officially known as the Soft Drinks Industry Levy.

The study found that more than half of the reduction in intake is from soft drinks alone. However, daily energy intake from free sugars remains higher than the WHO’s updated recommendation of 5% of daily energy intake—equivalent to 30 grams per day for adults, 24 grams for 7–10-year-olds, and 19 grams for 4–6-year-olds.

This evidence may indicate a reduction in sugar consumption from these drinks in the year following the levy but nobody knows whether other sources of dietary sugar displaced this erosion. The researchers have used the data on responses to the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey for 2008 up to 2019 in looking into the impacts of the tax concerning the total intake of sugar per diet. These data contained survey estimates about food consumption, nutrition, and nutrient intake from 500 adults and 500 children covering four days.


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