Today, (11 March) students at the University of Cambridge will announce details of a “ground-breaking free sugars test”.

The Cambridge scientists will present a system that offers consumers a means for identifying foods low in free sugars, which they said “makes it one of the most important breakthroughs in our fight against the negative health effects associated with high sugar intake”.

Rend Platings, the mother who proposed the new certification label, called Sugarwise, to Tesco last month, will also be present. Dr Tom Simmons, co-founder and an expert on sugar and carbohydrates, will present the system alongside Platings.

In 2015, the World Health Organisation stated that, taken as a whole, the population should get no more than 5% of their daily energy intake from free sugars. Until now there has been no means for the public to distinguish between free and naturally occurring sugars in food.

Salt, fat and sugars

Dr Simmons said: “We still have to be aware of salt, fat and total sugars, but free sugars are the big food issue of our time. They are arguably the most important issue where there is the largest potential to positively impact health by changing the free sugars profiles of our foods, especially if these changes can be made in the manufacturing process.

“Not only is it arguably the most important issue and largest challenge facing us today, but current food labels do not reveal free sugars. Sugarwise gives you information that you are not currently told - in traffic lights or on food labels - and guides you to products that are definitely within the recommended guidelines for free sugars.”

Platings, Sugarwise founder, said: “I was shocked to hear my daughter’s generation may live a shorter life than their parents. It’s not that we don’t know about the dangers of sugar, we do; the problem relates to our lack of access to healthier choices. I am hoping Sugarwise will have the potential to change things in the same way Fairtrade and organic labels have .”