The Sugar Reduction Summit: Industry, Regulation and Public Health

by | Aug 5, 2016

When & Where: Thursday 22nd September at The Royal Society in London

This conference looks pretty exciting – have you seen the line-up of speakers? I’m looking forward to hearing about expert views on voluntary reformulation and the potential impact of a sugar tax. I’ve been fairly vocal about my views on how realistic the SACN “5% energy from free sugars” recommendation is in practice, so it’ll be particularly interesting for me to hear my friend and colleague, Prof Jack Winkler, talk about how differently we’d need to be eating in order to achieve that.

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And I’ve also voiced my opinion at conferences and in publications about the necessity to look at the whole food, rather than focusing on one single macronutrient. Indeed, demonising sugar could compromise fibre intakes (think whole grain breakfast cereal), although the SACN Report advises us to increase our intake to 30g fibre daily. It could also potentially affect our intake of micronutrients like vitamin C or potassium (think juices and smoothies, in appropriate amounts of course). Check out the BNF Paper on Micronutrient status and intake in the UK – where might we be in 10 years’ time? It’s really worth a read.

The lovely Tanya Haffner will no doubt be a hit for me and other dietitians as she presents on “Is a continued focus on sugar actually counter-productive?”. I’m guessing she’ll be balanced – we all know we are eating too much sugar, especially as sugar sweetened beverages; that’s not in question, in my mind. It’s the practicality of cutting to such drastic levels, and the unintended consequences on our overall nutrient intakes.

There’s so much more on the programme about the big question: will all this sugar frenzy lead to an impact on childhood obesity, or not? And there are also insights on sweeteners, sugar tax and much more.

Key topics:

  • Sugar Reduction: 3 years on, what’s changed – and what’s next
  • How has consumer purchasing of sugar changed in the last 12 months and what impact did the sugar tax announcement have on purchasing
  • Can we achieve the 5% target or is it unrealistic?
  • What would need to change to get us closer to 5% of calories from added sugars?
  • What changes would have the most dramatic impact in reducing sugar consumption?
  • Should and can we follow the USA, in separating added and total sugars on labelling?
  • Is the focus on sugar counter-productive and muddling for consumers?
  • Should sugary drinks contain health warnings?
  • Will the sugary drinks tax be passed on to consumers, lost in promotions or absorbed by manufacturers – and will it have any impact on purchasing?
  • The evidence: are sweeteners an effective way to reduce total calorie intake?
  • How do sweeteners impact on behaviour?
  • Artificial versus natural sweeteners – what’s the difference?
  • Sweetness economics – what impact will changing prices of sugar and sweeteners have on manufacturing
  • Could sweeteners be extended to more categories?
  • What are the opportunities for new sweeteners?
  • Is the sugar tax legally viable?
  • How will the design of the sugar tax impact its effectiveness?
  • Is positioning the sugar tax as a positive for school sports actually counter-productive?
  • Which categories might be next in line for a sugar tax?
  • Industry is “on notice” to produce meaningful change – how will that happen without legislation?
  • What motivates voluntary action in the food industry, how do we get it right?

There are a limited number of discounted tickets to freelance nutritionists and dietitians or those working for the NHS or in community healthcare roles, please contact for more details.

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