Salt cuts causing sugar highs in some foods

CONSUMERS ARE being warned of the hidden sugar in some everyday products marketed as being healthier.

 

Ready meals, soups, sauces and yoghurts have all been found to contain high levels of sugar.

 

Manufacturers keen to market products as “low in fat” or “low in salt” have had to add extra sugar to maintain taste and texture.

 

Last year, manufacturers said they were reaching the technological limits of what can be done to remove salt from their products.

 

Food campaigners have now criticised the government for allowing manufacturers to “lace” foods with sugar.

 

The new report, published in the Sunday Times, showed that one Tesco chicken sauce contained almost three times as much sugar (22 teaspoons, or 95.4g) as a can of Coca-Cola. Heinz tomato soup was also found to contain 10g of sugar. Rachel’s Organic low-fat raspberry yoghurt was also spotlighted, with 32.g of sugar in every 225g.

 

Campaigners said they were concerned that, while the level of salt in some foods is falling, sugar content is on the rise.

 

“We have a government which is allowing the food and drinks industry to lace its products with sugar,” Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, told the paper. “There should be a cap on the amount of sugar which they are allowed to put in their products.”

 

Which? said that its own research shows that consumers are choosing “low-fat” and “light options” which “do not live up to their healthy image”.

 

Brand owners quizzed by the Sunday Times argued that sugar is added “for technical reasons”.

 

The report comes as Ministers and retailers gear up to publish their new nutrition labelling scheme – a combination of the traffic lights system and Guideline Daily Allowances.

 

Meanwhile, the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has proposed a “sugar tax”. Earlier this year, doctors backed a tax on sugary drinks to help tackle the growing obesity crisis.

 

  • May’s Footprint will include a report from the first meeting of the Footprint Health & Vitality expert group.

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