Sugary food and drink grab media attention

Sugary food and drink grab media attention

Four stories on teeth and sugar in the media very recently. Toothbrushing only partly protects against the effects of sugary snacks on children’s teeth, research suggests. Coca-Cola has announced it will cut the size of a 1.75l bottle and put up the price by 20p. Teenagers who watch lots of television adverts eat far more junk food, researchers have warned. Starbucks has been criticised for selling a hot chocolate with too much sugar.

Story 1

Tooth brushing only partly protects against the effects of sugary snacks on children’s teeth, research suggests. A study based on a sample of nearly 4,000 pre-school children shows snacking habits are most strongly associated with decay. Researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow found children who snack all day – compared with just eating meals – are far more likely to have dental decay. They say the study shows relying on tooth brushing alone to ward off dental decay in children under five is not enough.

The study authors add that parental socioeconomic factors, such as mother’s education level, explain more of the difference in children’s dental decay than diet or oral hygiene. They say that even though primary teeth are temporary, good oral hygiene habits are set in childhood, and this relates both to diet and tooth brushing. The study is published in the Journal of Public Health.

Story 2

Coca-Cola has announced it will cut the size of a 1.75l bottle to 1.5l and put up the price by 20p in March, because of the introduction of a sugar tax on soft drinks from April this year. However, the company said it has no plans to change its classic recipe.  "People love the taste... and have told us not to change," a spokesman said.

Coca-Cola Classic contains 10.6g of sugar per 100ml. Under the terms of the government's new tax, it will be subject to a tax of 24p per litre. "We have no plans to change the recipe of Coca-Cola Classic so it will be impacted by the government's soft drinks tax," said a spokesman for Coca-Cola European Partners. "Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke, our no-sugar colas, are not impacted."

Story 3

Teenagers who watch lots of television adverts eat far more junk food, researchers have warned. Experts found youngsters who watched more than three hours of commercial TV a day ate more unhealthily than those who watched very little. On average, they had ten extra snack items, such as crisps, biscuits or fizzy drinks, a week – totalling more than 500 a year.

However, when they watched TV without adverts, there was no link between screen time and the likelihood of eating more junk food, the Cancer Research UK team found, suggesting adverts may drive snacking.

Story 4

Starbucks has been criticised for selling a hot chocolate for kids which contains more sugar than a day’s recommended total. The 236ml “short-sized” drink has 20.1g of sugar per single serving — equivalent to five teaspoons. The daily limit for four to six-year-olds is 19g.

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