Sugar in food is the biggest health issue in the headlines at the moment.
British Baker has hit the high street to see if people are aware of sugar in loaves of bread, as some brands, such as Kingsmill, add sugar to their wholemeal loaves to enhance the flavour.
The campaign group Action on Sugar sparked the debate in January by highlighting the amount of sugar people consume in foods as a key factor in causing obesity.
Dr Aseem Malhota, cardiologist and science director of Action on Sugar, has previously told British Baker that he understood the fact there would always be sugar in items such as cake, but that hidden sugar in things like bread could be targeted more.
Government advisors have now stated that the recommended sugar intake should be halved, meaning that the maximum daily amount of sugar could be reached by consuming one can of fizzy drink.
Chairman of Action on Sugar Professor Graham MacGregor said: “We are currently consuming far above the current recommendations of 10%, so it is fantastic that this strong recommendation has been put forward and shows the urgency of acting now.
“Action on Sugar has recently provided Jeremy Hunt MP with a simple seven-step programme to tackle childhood obesity. He must start by setting targets for reducing sugar in soft drinks this summer and move responsibility for nutrition to an independent body, such as the Food Standards Agency, so that the soft drinks and food industry are given a level-playing field, with the threat of regulation to ensure the whole of the food industry complies - before another million British kids become obese.”
When British Baker spoke to the public, the conceptions about sugar in bread were mixed.
Matthew Fone, 28, said: “Like a lot of things, things that are low in fat, they increase sugar for taste, so I’m guessing there’s more sugar in the gluten-free loaf to make it taste better
“We only eat brown and wholemeal in our house, because we perceive it to be healthier, so I just assumed the white also had more in it.”
Emily Weller, 16, was less worried about sugar when it came to the loaves, she said: “I’d probably think about salt more when I eat bread.”
In regard to the introduction of a sugar tax, Bex Cole, 23, was tentative as to how far it would affect her buying habits. She said: “If there is quite a significant price rise, then it might, but if you want chocolate, then you want chocolate.”
Ian Marber, a nutritionist told British Baker: “I think that the debate about sugar is long-overdue and whilst I applaud the work undertaken by Action on Sugar we ought to note that many people have been campaigning for this debate for over a decade. Most people don’t know what the guidelines about sugar intake are and so this debate is very welcome. But sugar behaves like any refined carbohydrate and in time the debate will extend to our overall carbohydrate intake. For now reducing sugar in recipes will go a long way to help the population and I am hopeful that food manufacturers will do so without delay.”