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New campaign to cut sugar in UK food

After having successfully cut down the amount of salt in the UK diet, a campaign group is aiming to reduce the amount of sugar eaten by the British public. Its aim is to halt the obesity epidemic that the country is suffering from, however dentists should get on board with the campaign due to the amount of good it will do for British teeth.

The campaign group, Action on Sugar, is formed of doctors from the UK, the US and Canada. Many of its members were also the driving force behind Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash), a similar campaign that successfully reduced the salt content of UK food by a significant amount.

Action on Sugar hopes to do the same, reducing the nation’s sugar intake by 20 to 30 per cent within three to five years. The group wants to lobby food companies to gradually reduce the sugar content of their products, so that consumers don’t notice the difference in taste.

This tactic worked excellently for Cash. The group’s head Professor Graham MacGregor said: “In most products in the supermarkets, the salt has come down by between 25 per cent and 40 per cent.” In some products, the salt content had been reduced by as much as 60 per cent. He added: “Provided the sugar reductions are done slowly, people won’t notice.”

Dentists should be all in favour of this campaign. Sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay, and the UK eats far too much of the substance. This is mainly a result of processed food bought outside the home, as increased knowledge of nutrition means that many households are eating much healthier now.

In order to support this campaign, dentists could use a variety of dental marketing tactics to spread the message about not eating sugar, and get their patients supporting the campaign. In addition to causing tooth decay and obesity, consuming sugar increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and fatty liver.

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