Kellogg’s vows to cut hundreds of tons of sugar from children’s cereals, but only after being financially threatened by the U.K. government

(NaturalNews) Major soft drink and cereal manufacturers in Britain have pledged to reduce sugar content in their products, but only to avoid a new ‘sugar tax‘ being considered by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Cereal giant Kellogg’s has promised to use 723 tons less sugar in all its cereals starting in 2016, including Frosties and Coco Pops – which currently contain 35 percent sugar.

Coca-Cola is expected to stand its ground regarding the sugar content in its main product (7 teaspoons of sugar per 330 ml can), but has vowed to join other companies in changing marketing strategies to exclude under-16 consumers.

These “unprecedented” industry-prompted changes will also include smaller-sized and healthier products.

The goal of the measures, according to processed-food industry sources, is to cut Britain’s sugar consumption by 20 percent before 2020.

Should the industry pay a sugar tax?

The proposed 10–20 percent sugar levy could theoretically rake in up to £1 billion annually.

Proponents of the controversial tax, such as celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, advocate its implementation in the fight against childhood obesity.

From The Telegraph:

“He [Oliver] told MPs on the House of Commons’ Health Committee last year that a tax would be the ‘single most important’ change that could be made.

“The chef said he would like to see the money raised by a sugar levy shared between the NHS and primary schools.

“Oliver, who has introduced a levy on soft drinks with added sugar in his own restaurants, told MPs: ‘We should be big and bold. Who is running the country, the businesses who are profiting from ill health, or is it us?'”

Critics of the levy see it as yet another ‘nanny state’ over-regulation measure – if a person consumes sugar in moderation, why should their choices be limited?

Whether or not the processed food industry should be forced pay a steep tax to be able to peddle its unhealthy, sugar-laden products, is a subject for debate, but health officials in Britain claim the tax could save thousands of lives and billions of pounds:

“An official report says the NHS could save £15bn and almost 80,000 lives in a generation by weaning the public off its sweet tooth. Today’s children and teenagers are consuming three times the recommended level of sugar (adults fare almost as badly).”

Cameron changes his tune

Downing Street officials are currently considering a draft of the plan, marking a reversal in Cameron’s stance regarding the tax; he said in October that there were “more effective ways of tackling this issue than putting a tax on sugar.”

Pressure from advocates of the tax have apparently swayed the PM, who has now promised to introduce a “fully-worked up programme” this year designed to combat obesity. Cameron has not said that he now supports a sugar tax, but is apparently not ruling it out.

At a recent press conference, the prime minister said:

“I don’t really want to put new taxes onto anything. But we do have to recognise that we face potentially in Britain something of an obesity crisis when we look at the effect of obesity on not just diabetes but the effect on heart disease, potentially on cancer, we look at the costs on the NHS, the life-shortening potential of these problems.”

The best solution

Rather than wait for the government and the processed food industry to fix the problem, parents should help children choose nutritious natural foods, while teaching them why they should avoid processed junk. Lead by example and encourage them to take an interest in their diet and health.

Too many parents are consuming the same types of products that are making their kids fat; obesity rates among adults are not much better than those of children.

Choose fresh, organic foods whenever possible, and stop generating profits for the makers of poisonous, addictive garbage. Eating healthy is a choice, and if people stop buying the bad stuff, these companies will be forced to either clean up their act, or go out of business.


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