Guest Blog: Supporting this year’s #SugarAwarenessWeek!

Guest Blog: Supporting this year’s #SugarAwarenessWeek!

This January Food Active are delighted to support #SugarAwarenessWeek, In our latest guest blog, we hear from Holly Gabriel, Nutritionist and Campaigner from Action on Sugar, to find out more about this year’s plans for the campaign and the calls to action.

Where has the time gone? Over a year has passed since our survey on freakshakes and milkshakes exposed outrageous levels of sugar and calories and a complete lack of nutrition information when we eat out. Worst offenders had as much as 39 teaspoons of sugar![i]  We called for everyone to have their say, and demand clear, consistent and accessible nutrition labelling when we eat out in cafes and restaurants. Despite strong support for menu labelling in response to the government consultation we are yet to hear any further progress.  With a newly formed government now in place we hope for better progress in 2020.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock has plans to save half a million lives saved over the next 10 years with his long-term plans for the NHS. We’re concerned these plans do not go far enough to improve our food environment. Much more needs to be done to reduce the increasing burden on the NHS and the economy from obesity related health conditions and tooth decay, caused by excess sugar and calorie consumption.

Our surveys this year have continued to expose unacceptable practises by the food and drink industry, from the use of cartoon characters to sell unhealthy food to children[ii]  to waffles and pancakes having up to 1800 calories in one portion![iii] It is clear we need to do more to make real change.

For Sugar Awareness Week 2020 we will be drawing attention to another policy that is far from fit for purpose. Clear consistent information about what we are buying and affordable, accessible, healthy food should be a basic citizen right. If you buy an item of clothing to wear you can clearly see what it is made of but there are still entire categories of food and drink that are not required to inform us on ingredients or even basic nutrition information. We want to see an end to weak voluntary schemes which allow the food and drink industry to police itself with limited accountability.

We are marking the Week with a Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons and inviting guests from across the food & drink industry and government as well as those from the health space. We will have a diverse range of expert speakers and an opportunity for all those attending to have their views heard. We plan on making 2020 a fantastic year for health by demanding things change – it’s well overdue.

Sugar Awareness Week runs from 20th-26th January 2020

Follow our Sugar Awareness Week story and join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook @Actiononsugar  #SugarAwarenessWeek

Food Active are pleased to be supporting this year’s campaign, which includes a focus on the sugar content of sugary drinks – an area very close to our hearts and something we have heavily campaigned on over the past five years through our #GiveUpLovingPop campaign. In q quote to support Sugar Awareness Week:

“We are really pleased to be supporting this year’s Sugar Awareness Week. Whilst the soft drinks industry levy has made some tracks in reducing the proportion of free sugars in soft drinks, many are still very high in sugar and there is a huge amount of variation between brands, the war on sugary drinks is by no means over. The sugar reduction programme on the other hand has barely left the station, with figures last year revealing reductions in sugar have fallen significantly short of meeting the 20% reduction target by 2020 – overall 2.9% reduction in sugar across the ten food categories since 2015. This illustrates the need for sugar reduction to remain high on the agenda, and Sugar Awareness Week is a great way to keep the pressure on the Government and food industry to step up to the plate and make sugar reduction a priority for the public’s health!”

Holly is a Registered Nutritionist (Public Health). Since graduating with a First in Public Health Nutrition from Cardiff Metropolitan University, Holly has worked in several areas including for Mytime Active as a Child Weight Management Nutritionist and Programme Co-ordinator, delivering healthy lifestyle services for young people across London. More recently Holly has worked as a Nutritionist for Waitrose working within the Technical and Corporate Responsibility team.

Holly joined the Action on Sugar team in May 2018 and is responsible for all aspects of the campaign including project surveys, media spokesperson and project managing Sugar Awareness Week.




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