Top Nutrition Headlines 11 December – A Nutrilicious Digest

Top Nutrition Headlines 11 December – A Nutrilicious Digest

Each week we analyse some of the hot headlines in health and nutrition news. This week we look at type 2 diabetes reversal through weight loss, the rise in childhood obesity and raw flour health risks.

 

HEADLINE 1: ‘I BEAT TYPE 2 DIABETES WITH 200-CALORIE DRINKS’

This week we have the BBC (‘I beat type 2 diabetes with 200-calorie drinks’), The Guardian (Radical diet can reverse type 2 diabetes new study shows), The Daily Mail (Three month diet reverse Type 2 diabetes), The Sun (Millions of diabetics could be cured by losing weight and eating healthier) and The Express (Type 2 diabetes symptoms diet reverse) reporting that it may be possible to reverse type 2 diabetes by following a ‘crash diet.’

The findings come from a study called DiRECT (Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial), where it was found that by following an intensive low-calorie diet for three to five months people could put their diabetes into remission. Nearly half of the study participants were in remission after one year. There was a close link found between amount of weight lost and remission of type 2 diabetes.

Here are the results for the percentages of people who were in remission after one year based on the amount of weight lost:

  • 86% of people who had lost over 15kg (2.4 stone) in remission
  • 57% of people who lost 10-15kg (1.6-2.4 stone) in remission
  • 34% of people who lost 5-10kg (0.8-16 stone) in remission

There was also a control group who did not follow the low calorie diet, but were given the best diabetes care available and only 4% went into remission.

Behind the headlines: the Nutrilicious dietetic view
Firstly, it should be recognised what is meant by ‘putting diabetes into remission’. In this study being in ‘remission’ was defined as having a HbA1c level below 6.5% (48mmol/mol) after 12 months, with at least two months without diabetes medication. HbA1c is a measure of blood glucose levels over the past two to three months and can be used to diagnose diabetes. It should be noted that being in ‘remission’ does not necessarily mean the diabetes has gone completely and hence people still need regular check-ups.

This research backs up previous studies investigating the potential of reversing type 2 diabetes. This DiRECT study recruited many more participants (298 recruited vs 11 and 30 in the two previous studies), making it much more reliable, and testing was carried out over a much longer period.

Points to note

  • While this is a very promising piece of research and extremely exciting for people with type 2 diabetes, it should be noted that the study is not over yet. It is unclear at this stage how long the remission will last for; whether it will reduce the risk of long term diabetes related complications; and whether this type of treatment could be feasible within the NHS.
  • The people involved in the study had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for up to six years and so the findings may not apply to those have had the condition longer. Participants also were not included if they were taking insulin.
  • The diet involved was intensive. Participants followed a daily diet of around 800kcal diet (made up of four soups or shakes fortified with vitamins and minerals) for between 8 and 20 weeks, followed by a long-term programme of weight loss maintenance. Certainly not an easy fix!
  • The headlines alert us to the positive findings of the study but one person in fact developed severe abdominal pain, related to gallstones. This was thought to be possibly caused by the intervention. Further studies are required to ensure the diet is safe for widespread use.
  • The weight management programme was delivered with medical supervision and dietitians were involved to help support long term weight management. While it may seem possible to put type 2 diabetes into remission, this type of diet should certainly not be undertaken alone and anyone attempting to do this should ask for help from a GP and dietitian.

The Deputy Head of Care at Diabetes UK provided this useful statement: “If you’re thinking about trying a low-calorie diet, it’s really important you speak to your GP and get referred to a dietitian. This is to make sure you get tailored advice and support.

“It’s also important to bear in mind that if you’re treating your Type 2 diabetes with certain medications, such as insulin or sulphonylurea, a low-calorie diet can make hypos more likely. So you’ll need support to make changes to your medications and check your blood sugar levels more often.”

For more information, go to Diabetes UK and the Newcastle University study

 

HEADLINE 2: ‘STARK’ INCREASE IN OVERWEIGHT YOUNGSTERS

We are being alerted by the BBC (‘Stark’ increase in overweight youngsters), The Times (A fifth of children are obese by 14) and the Daily Mail (Now one in three British teenagers is already overweight) of the increasing prevalence of obesity in children.

Data from the Millennium Cohort (a group of more than 10,000 children born between 2000-2001 who have been followed for years) revealed that 25% were overweight or obese at age 7, increasing to 35% by age 11. Little change was found between age 11 and 14 years.

There were notable differences found between different nations and there were links found between the mother’s education level, whether the child was breastfed and whether the parents owned their own home. Full results are discussed by the Institute of Education.

Behind the headlines: the Nutrilicious dietetic view
The headlines alert us to the growing problem of obesity in children and action clearly needs to be taken. The following risks are associated with it:

  • Higher chance of premature death and disability in adulthood
  • More likely to stay obese in adulthood and develop noncommicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease at a younger age
  • Muscoskeletal disorders in adulthood (e.g. osteoarthritis)
  • Certain cancers in adulthood (endometrial, breast and colon)

Source: World Health Organisation

It is unclear from this research why there is such an increase in rates of obesity between ages 7 and 11, which then levels off. Children may start to make more of their own choices past 11 years and this is thought to potentially have a role.

In view of these recent findings, we should be reminded of the action that is planned to help combat obesity in the UK. These are discussed in full on the UK Government’s website. Key examples from this plan include:

  • The Sugar Tax – The government plan to introduce a soft drinks levy to be enforced from April 2018. Producers and importers have been given two years to lower the sugar appropriately in their drinks to allow them to not face the levy. Our blog Draft Soft Drinks Levy – Objectives, Thresholds, Exemptions & Impact? discusses this further. This is a very encouraging and hopeful move considering that the latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey highlighted that soft drinks are a major contributor to sugar in children’s diets.
  • Taking out 20% of sugar in products – firms have been called to cut sugar by 5% by the end of this year and by 20% by 2020. We discussed on last week’s blog the action that Kellogg’s have been taking on their top selling cereal products to cut the sugar.

There are also new rules due to be implemented on food advertising. Last month the BBC reported on how young children are being bombarded with adverts for high fat, high sugar foods, which is more than likely to be having a negative influence on food choices. The news rules are discussed in our blog New rules on food advertising to help tackle childhood obesity.

It is interesting to note that Amsterdam is the only European country that has successfully managed to reduce obesity rates in the last five years with a range of programmes, mainly through schools. Clearly, many measures will need to be employed to help combat childhood obesity in the UK. Let us hope that the actions due to be undertaken in UK will help improve the current rather desperate situation. Monitoring of the effectiveness of such actions will be of key importance in the future.

For more information, go to NHS and UCL

 

HEADLINE 3: ‘DON’T LICK THE MIXING BOWL!’

Also in the news this week is the warning over eating raw cookie dough. This was reported by The BBC, The Telegraph, The Evening Standard, The Sun and The Daily Mail.

The UK Foods Standards Agency have now provided guidance that we should not eat raw flour, including cookie dough. This is due to outbreaks in the US of food poisoning caused by E.Coli.

Behind the headlines: the Nutrilicious dietetic view

E.Coli is a type of bacteria that can cause diarrhoea, blood in faeces, stomach cramps, fever and vomiting. Before this guidance on raw flour, it was understood that E.Coli could be caught from infected foods such as raw leafy vegetables, undercooked meat or raw milk products.

We now must ensure we are aware of the potential risk associated with raw flour, including cookie dough and cake mixture for example. We may think we shouldn’t have a taster of these due to the raw egg. However, in October 2017, the Foods Standards Agency published advice that runny eggs are safe to eat for all, so long as they are stamped with the British Lion Code of Practice.

So now the reasoning behind avoiding having a taster of dough is down to the raw flour contained within it. It is also advised to wash hands thoroughly before and after using flour and to ensure worktops are wiped afterwards. Rest assured that cooking the flour will kill the bacteria that causes the infection.

It is important to be aware of this new advice from the Foods Standards Agency to reduce any complications caused E.Coli. Certain groups of people should take particular note of this new guidance, such as those with a weakened immune system and pregnant women, where food poisoning can cause harm to the unborn baby. When giving food safety advice to such groups, this latest advice on flour should be included.

For more information, go to NHS

Top Nutrition News Headlines 4 Dec – A Nutrilicious digest

Top Nutrition News Headlines 4 Dec – A Nutrilicious digest

Each week we analyse some of the hot headlines in health and nutrition news. This week cheese; obesity & diabetes/cancer risk; and sugar reduction in Kellogg’s cereals.

 

HEADLINE 1: A piece of cheese a day keeps the doctor away

Picked up in the news this week by the Daily Mail, The Express, The Sun, The Independent and The Guardian is the suggestion that eating cheese could reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

This is based on a meta-analysis of studies which concluded that consuming 40g of cheese per day reduced the risk of heart attack by 14% and stroke by 10%.

Behind the headlines: the Nutrilicious dietetic view

While cheese lovers are likely to have rejoiced, there are limitations to the research on which the headlines were based. The lack of randomised controlled trials included within the meta-analysis means that no causal relationship can be assumed between eating cheese and risk of heart disease. There are far too many factors which could interfere with the results.

Interestingly, there are previous large studies that have found no association between heart disease and eating cheese. Again, it can be hard to prove that it is the cheese eating that is causing the effects.  

The harm that eating too much cheese can cause to health is well documented. Although it is a good source of protein, calcium, phosphorous and vitamin B12, it can also be high in saturated fats. Having too much saturated fat in the diet can increase levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood, which is an established risk factor for heart disease. A 30g portion of cheddar cheese (a matchbox size) contains 6.5g saturated fat (over a quarter of the reference intake for saturated fat – 20g). It can also be quite easy to go above this recommended portion size. 

Some cheeses can be high in salt and there is a lot of evidence to show that too much salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure, another risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Cheese can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet if eaten in moderation and can provide a valuable source of various nutrients. Sticking to the recommended 30g portion size and opting for lower fat varieties such as lighter/reduced fat cheddars, cottage cheese and ricotta, can help ensure we don’t exceed our recommended maximum amount of saturated fat.

Moreover, foods such as low-fat yogurts and lower fat milks can also provide us with calcium and protein (two of the key nutrients found in cheese) but provide less saturated fats (as well as fewer calories, which would be helpful for those trying to lose weight).

For more information, go to British Heart Foundation and the NHS

 

HEADLINE 2: Diabetes is a key factor in WORLDWIDE cancer surge

The Express, The Sun and The Daily Mail reported on a finding that diabetes and obesity have been linked to causing cancer.

Researchers found that people with a high BMI (defined as above 25kg/m) who also had diabetes were behind 5.6% of new cancer cases globally, affecting 792,600 people in 2012. The method used was through assessing the increase in new cases of 18 cancers based on the prevalence of diabetes and high BMI in 175 countries (using data about BMI and diabetes in 2002 and cancers recorded in 2012).

Behind the headlines: the Nutrilicious dietetic view

This is an interesting study as it is the first study to have looked at the combined effect of having diabetes and obesity on cancer risk. Whilst the headlines alert us to the finding that over 5% of cancers were attributable to diabetes and cancer, there were significant differences between various groups of people, regions and types of cancer which should be noted. These are discussed in the original study. For example, cancers attributable to diabetes and being overweight were nearly twice as common in women (496,700 cases) as they were in men (295,900 cases).

It should be noted that there were limitations of the study. It is questionable whether the 10-year gap used between recording diabetes and high BMI to cancer incidence is entirely appropriate to enable conclusions to be drawn, as recognised by the researchers.

What we understand already is that obesity is certainly a risk factor for cancer. Analysis conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund has found that being overweight (BMI 25kg- 29.9/m) or obese (BMI 30kg/m and above) increases the risk of 11 types of cancer.

The Diabetes UK website outlines the link between diabetes and cancer. Some of the complications associated with diabetes can increase the risk of cancer. However, well-managed diabetes can help reduce the risk of any complications. Diabetes UK have given their thoughts on this study and stated that, “Diabetes doesn’t directly cause cancer, but this study adds to the evidence that having diabetes can increase the risk of certain types of cancer.”

The main message to take home from these headlines is that the increasing prevalence of obesity and diabetes may lead to an increase in risk of certain cancers. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating well, keeping physically active, not smoking, and not exceeding the government guidelines for alcohol consumption can all help lower the risk of diabetes and cancer.

For more information, go to Diabetes UK and WCRF

 

HEADLINE 3: Kellogg’s to cut sugar in kids’ cereals by up to 40%

Also in the news this week is the announcement that Kellogg’s will cut the sugar levels in children’s cereals by up to 40%. This was reported by the BBC, the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard, The Times and The Sun.

Kellogg’s have said they will reduce sugar levels by 20-40% by the middle of 2018 for Coco Pops, Rice Krispies and Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes. They are also going to stop making Ricicles from January 2018, due to the amount of sugar in the cereal, and are putting a stop to on-pack promotions aimed at children on Frosties.

Behind the headlines: the Nutrilicious dietetic view

This is a very positive and encouraging move from Kellogg’s as the battle to reduce sugar consumption in the UK continues.

In March this year, officials at Public Health England called on food firms to cut sugar by 5% by the end of this year and by 20% by 2020. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition currently advise that free sugar intake in the UK should account for no more than 5% of our daily energy intake. Advice for the different age groups is as follows:

  • Children 4-6 years – no more than 19g free sugars per day (5 teaspoons)
  • Children 7-10 years – no more than 24g free sugars per day (6 teaspoons)
  • Children 11 years + and adults – no more than 30g free sugars per day (7 teaspoons)  

Although not the highest source of sugar in our diets, cereals do contribute to daily intake, with the most recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey highlighting that cereals are responsible for 5% of the added sugar intakes of adults and 6-8% of that of 4-10-year olds and teens. In our blog post last year A Health Check on New Breakfast Opportunities we discussed the need for more breakfast options to offer lower sugar choices and so this certainly is a positive step forward. With gradually a lesser number of options available that are high in sugar, it may be less overwhelming for consumers to make healthier choices.

Here is how much sugar is currently in the Kellogg’s products and how much they are to be reduced by:

  • Coco Pops – 9g sugar per 30g serving. To be reduced to 5.1g per 30g serving (40% reduction, changing from about 2 teaspoons of sugar to just over 1 teaspoon).
  • Rice Krispies – 3g sugar per 30g serving. To be reduced to 2.4g per 30g serving (20% reduction, changing from ¾ teaspoon of sugar to a little under 2/3 teaspoon of sugar).
  • Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes – 6.3g sugar per 30g serving. To be reduced to 4.5g per 30g serving (30% reduction, changing from about 1.5 teaspoons of sugar to just over 1 teaspoon)

A step forward to reduce the sugar content of any foods available on the market can only surely be a positive one.

For more information, go to Kellogg’s – Sugar and Breakfast Cereal and SACN 2015 – Carbohydrates and Health Report 

WWF Livewell report aims for ‘diets that are good for both people and the planet’

WWF Livewell report aims for ‘diets that are good for both people and the planet’

A new World Wildlife Research Fund (WWF) report, Eating for 2 Degrees – New and Updated Livewell Plates, calls on the UK Government and Climate Change Committee to set goals for reducing emissions from the food sector. Following-up from the original 2011 WWF Livewell report, it aims to ‘provide diets that are good for both people and the planet.’

There are new plates developed specifically for adolescents (10­­–17 years old), adults (18–64), the elderly (65–85) and vegans. They illustrate the absolute minimal dietary changes needed by 2030 to keep below a two-degree rise in global temperature, as per the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. The new Livewell Plates are described as,”representative diets that meet national nutritional requirements while reducing the environmental footprint of the food system that produces them.”

The Plates were based on modelling from Public Health England’s Eatwell Guide and current dietary intakes as baselines. They aim to create a diet with the fewest possible changes to current recommendations while meeting the restrictions imposed. In general, they contain more plant foods, particularly those that are nutrient dense such as vegetables, wholegrain cereals products, nuts, legumes and vegetable oils.

This report builds on thinking on healthy sustainable diets that we are increasingly seeing from consumer and public health organisations and think tanks. And the WWF believe it’s time that the UK Government implements healthy eating advice that also integrates sustainability.

The authors hope to develop additional Plates in future, including one for infants and primary school children, as well as country-specific Plates.

What are the Livewell Principles?

People are advised to follow the following Livewell Principles:

  1. Eat more plants – enjoy vegetables and whole grains
  2. Eat a variety of foods – have a colourful plate
  3. Waste less food – one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted
  4. Moderate your meat consumption, both red and white – enjoy other sources of protein such as peas, beans and nuts
  5. Buy food that meets a credible certified standard – consider MSC, free-range and fair trade
  6. Eat fewer foods high in fat, salt and sugar – keep foods such as cakes, sweets and chocolate as well as cured meat, fries and crisps to an occasional treat. Choose water, avoid sugary drinks and remember that juices only account for one of your 5-a-day however much you drink.

Changes we think should be implemented in light of the report

  • Food businesses including manufacturers and caterers should be looking at ways of including more plant foods in general into their products and menus, and using credible certified standards where these are available.
  • Food service in particular can look at ways of promoting their expanding range of plant-based options. A new scheme from Veganuary, The Humane League UK and Vegan Chef Day gives a good example of raising awareness.
  • Retailers should be looking at ways of shifting their promotional budgets away from high fat, salt, sugar foods and towards the core foods in the Eatwell Guide and Livewell Plates.
  • We are already seeing a shift in reported consumption of animal products by consumers. A recent report from Mintel suggesting 28% of Brits have reduced or limited their meat consumption in the last six months. Consumers can further support their efforts towards more sustainable diets by thinking more holistically – eating more plants, wasting less, and so on.

Top nutrition headlines 27 Nov – A Nutrilicious digest

Each week we analyse some of the hot headlines in health and nutrition news. This week: Breast cancer in larger women; vitamin D and arthritis; and health benefits of coffee.

 

HEADLINE 1: Breast cancer tumours ‘larger’ in overweight women

The BBC, Daily Mail and The Telegraph picked up on a Swedish study which found that cancerous breast lumps are less likely to be detected in overweight or obese women before the tumour becomes large. The suggestion is that they should therefore be offered more regular screening.

Behind the headlines: the Nutrilicious dietetic view

It is unclear for definite why cancerous lumps are less likely to be detected in women with high BMI. It could be because the tumours are growing at a faster rate or it could be that because their breasts are larger, the tumours were harder to find.

Current guidelines for screening in the UK are that all women aged between 50 and 70 are invited for screening every three years. Cancer Research UK have spoken out regarding this study, stating that it does not provide enough evidence to support a change in the guidelines.

In terms of breast cancer prevention, the role of Body Mass Index (BMI) has been recognised by Cancer Research UK, whereby being overweight (BMI 25-29.9kg/m2) or obese (BMI 30kg/m2 and above) is a known risk factor. Although screening guidelines are to remain the same, this study further reiterates the importance of maintaining a healthy weight.
Calculate your BMI

 

HEADLINE 2: Vitamin D may help prevent rheumatoid arthritis, suggests study

The Guardian reported on a laboratory study that investigated the role of vitamin D in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), following previous research showing it might have anti-inflammatory effects.

It was found that in non-diseased tissue, the immune cells responded well to active vitamin D. In contrast, the tissue from inflamed joints in people with RA was much less effective in responsiveness to vitamin D.

The researchers suggested that vitamin D supplementation may therefore be able to help prevent the onset of RA. They also said that while it is vitamin D is unlikely to be a successful treatment for established RA patients, if there was a route to make the diseased cells respond to vitamin D, then potentially this could help with treatment options. Another suggestion is that vitamin D supplementation may help with the prevention of inflammatory conditions such as RA. .

Behind the headlines: the Nutrilicious dietetic view

This was a small laboratory study that only involved 15 participants and much more research is needed to investigate why the RA cells were insensitive to vitamin D. Although useful in understanding vitamin D in RA, we cannot draw conclusions regarding the use of vitamin D supplements to either prevent or potentially help treat people with RA. The suggestions are pure speculation; there would be a lot more research needed to investigate both of these points

Regardless of the potential effects on inflammation, the UK’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition advise that all adults and children over the age of one should be taking a daily 10mcg vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter months (October to March). With our main source of vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, it can be hard to get adequate supplies in these months. Although we can obtain vitamin D from foods such as oily fish, eggs, red meat and liver, sources are limited so supplements are a better way of being sure.

For more information, go to
BDA Food Facts, Vitamin D
Arthritis UK, Diet and Arthritis

 

HEADLINE 3: Three cups of coffee a day ‘may have health benefits’

News outlets once again jumped on a ‘healthy coffee’ study, with the BBC, ABC News, Daily Mail and The Guardian picking up on a study which looked into previous research into coffee and health. The researchers looked into more than 200 studies, most of which were observational by design.

Those who drank three cups of coffee per day appeared to reduce their risk of heart disease and of death from heart disease. The most notable benefits were the effects on liver disease and liver cancer, with coffee drinking reducing the risk.

Behind the headlines: The Nutrilicious dietetic view

In last week’s Nutrition News Digest we also reported on a study that found benefits of coffee drinking and reducing the risk of liver cancer.

Although this week’s study backs up recent research, similarly to last week it cannot prove that it is actually the coffee drinking causing the effects seen. There are many factors, including the lifestyle of coffee drinkers, which may contribute to the effects. Moreover, most of the studies included within the analysis were of low quality – as recognised by the researchers.

The headlines focus on the positive aspects of coffee drinking. Although most of the effects were found to be positive in this research, some of the studies also showed a harmful health outcome (e.g. for fracture risk in women).

There is a useful summary of the current evidence into coffee and health in an editorial in the British Medical Journal, Coffee gets a clean bill of health, which discusses the questions many people may be asking in response to these recent headlines, including:
1. whether coffee should be recommended to prevent disease; and
2. whether people should start drinking coffee for health reasons.

Both questions are answered as ‘no’. There is simply not enough sound evidence to make these conclusions.

Nevertheless, the advice remains the same in that a caffeine intake of up to 400mg per day (3-4 cups of coffee) is perfectly safe and that coffee is absolutely fine to include in moderation. Pregnant women should limit their intake to less than 200mg per day (2 cups of instant coffee).

For more information, go to:
NHS, pregnancy and caffeine
EFSA, Scientific opinion on the safety of caffeine

Will European Group tackling obesity have any impact?

Will European Group tackling obesity have any impact?

The European Commission Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity is a high-level group covering all matters related to nutrition and physical activity for tackling obesity in children. They’re creating frameworks to address the health problems endemic in every country in the Western world. As health professionals, we’re delighted.

Government representatives from all EU countries, plus Norway and Switzerland, attend the group. The UK government is represented by the Department of Health.

The driver for the obesity problem to be taken seriously at last? The ever-growing drain on economies caused by obesity-related health problems: from the cost of healthcare provision to increasing numbers of sick days taken by workers.

Meeting at least three times a year, they share experiences and strategies for tackling obesity. To date, they have published an EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity for 2014-2020, aiming to reduce exposure of foods with high saturated fat, sugars and salt (HFSS), as well as increasing exercise.

They’ve also set frameworks that can be taken up by any country on reformulation of commercial products, focusing on reductions in HFSS. Food categories currently under review are:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Sweetened dairy and dairy imitates
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Bread and bread products
  • Confectionary
  • Bakery products (for example cakes and cookies)
  • Ready meals (including ready to prepare products like dry soups, dried mashed potatoes, rice mixture)
  • Savoury snacks
  • Sauces (including ketchup)
  • Sugars sweetened desserts, ice cream and topping
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • School food offer
  • Catering meals

Interestingly, baby foods are not yet covered, although it would not be a surprise if this is the next step once Public Health England’s (PHE) sugar reduction strategy for this category gets under way end of this year.

The EU-specific Commercial Food Reformulation Framework for Added Sugars is set – and is really a reflection of the PHE’s sugar reduction strategy:

  • They have proposed benchmarks for each of the above food categories.
  • They have recommended that countries set an added sugars reduction benchmark of a minimum of 10% by 2020 (vs. 2015 baseline levels).
  • They have used the same definition for ‘added sugars’ as PHE, including fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate and fruit purees.

The frameworks are guidelines with minimum requirements, rather than exact rules every country is bound to. This makes sense – countries can choose to apply them as appropriate, taking into consideration different consumer attitudes to food and nutrients.

So, for example, in the UK, the first nine food categories to come under the sugar reduction targets also used 2015 data as baseline, but we went to 5% reductions by year one and 20% reductions by year 2020.

The Group next meets at the end of the month, with an evolved nutrition labelling initiative one of the points on the agenda. Major multi-national companies are on board, including The Coca-Cola Company, Mars, Mondelez, Nestle, PepsiCo and Unilever.

Let’s hope that what comes out of it actually makes an impact, that it’s not just words no one follows up on. We’re certainly moving in the right direction.

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