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FDF statement ahead of Channel 4 Dispatches 'Are you addicted to sugar?' screening

20 January 2014

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In response to claims made by Channel 4's Dispatches in its press release ahead of tonight's screening of 'Are you addicted to sugar?', Barbara Gallani, Director of Regulation, Science Health at the Food and Drink Federation, the voice of food and drink manufacturers in the UK, said:

“The recent media coverage around sugar has highlighted that unfortunately some still take an over simplistic approach to tackling obesity and its associated diseases. Sugars, or any other nutrient for that matter, when consumed as part of a varied and balanced diet do not cause of obesity, to which there is no simple or single solution.

“Channel 4 coverage is highly misleading as the title of its forthcoming programme 'Are you addicted to sugar?' does not take into account that recent reviews [i] [ii] have shown no evidence that food addiction exists in people, either to specific foods or nutrients like sugar or fat. Based on what has been reported thus far, we have concerns that tonight's Dispatches will miss the opportunity to reflect the balance of scientific opinion which exists within the science and health communities.

“Demonising individual ingredients and foods does not help people to build a realistic approach to their diet. UK food manufacturers have lead the way in providing clear, simple nutrition and ingredient labelling on-pack to help inform dietary choices. Individuals have access to clear and consistent nutrition information, which includes sugars content, and which, in the vast majority of products, is provided on the front of pack. The food industry is committed to working with government, health professionals and other partners towards improved public health in the UK, many doing so under the Government's Responsibility Deal framework.”

“Channel 4's attack on the professional integrity of members of scientific advisory committees is disgraceful as it fails to recognise that the system in place in the UK is firmly based on transparency and includes very robust processes to ensure that scientific advice is developed by the best experts in a field and that potential conflicts of interest can be identified and addressed.”

Notes to editors

[1] Ziauddeen, H., I. S. Farooqi, et al. (2012). Obesity and the brain: how convincing is the addiction model? Nat Rev Neurosci 13(4): 279-286

[11] Benton, D (2010). “The plausibility of sugar addiction and its role in obesity and eating disorders”. Clin Nut 29(3): 288-303

More information

Contact Anna Taylor, Communications Division, at: anna.taylor@fdf.org.uk, or 0207 420 7118.

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Distribution channels: Food & Beverage Industry


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