Just about everyone is trying to eat a little bit healthier these days, but it’s not that easy. After all, we’re constantly finding out that many foods that seem pretty good for us on the surface actually contain some hidden nasties.
Added sugar and salt seem to creep in all over the place and the current traffic light system on food packaging just isn’t showing us the way sufficiently. Enter the Department of Health and a nifty new idea to make sure we all really know what’s going into our food.
The new labelling would show pictures of teaspoons of salt and sugar to identify exactly how much has gone into any given product. This will give a clear, visual representation of how unhealthy many items are and could scare consumers out of eating them too often.
In government guidelines, it is suggested that adults shouldn’t consume more than 90 grams of sugar a day. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommends that children between four and six years old shouldn’t exceed 19 grams or five teaspoons of free sugars daily.
As can be seen from this example, it’s much easier for the average person to think in teaspoons, as opposed to grams. SACN continues its advice with no more than 24 grams or six teaspoons for seven to ten year olds and a limit of 30 grams or seven teaspoons of sugar for those aged 11 and over.
The new plan comes in the wake of an announcement that the government’s new obesity strategy is to be less robust than was originally thought. Measures to ban junk food adverts on TV before the watershed and remove unhealthy snacks from supermarket checkouts have been abandoned.
Instead, the prime minister Theresa May, is calling on supermarkets and food manufacturers to cut sugar in their products by a fifth. If the idea to put pictorial representations of this on food labels goes forward, we should be able to see fewer teaspoons of sugar on our favourite treats in future.
The ability for the government to be able to make such big changes to food packaging is down to the fact that the UK will be leaving the European Union. Had voters opted to stay inside the confederation, then its rules would mean food labels could not be altered in this way.