News, Media & FAQs | Media watch
Catch up on the most topical issues in sugars and health making the Australian headlines this month:
1. Industry funded research
A paper, ‘Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research’, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) received a lot of media attention this month. The paper suggested that the sugar industry sponsored a research program in the 1960s and 1970s that cast doubt about the hazards of sucrose while promoting fat as the dietary culprit in coronary heart disease. This paper was picked up by the New York Times in an article titled “How the sugar industry shifted the blame to fat” and became widespread across media outlets. It is important to note that nutrition research over the last 40 years has yet to find a direct link between moderate sugar intakes and cardiovascular disease. The Heart Foundation currently recommends ‘limiting foods high in added sugars’ and highlights that too much unhealthy saturated fat and trans fat can increase your risk of heart disease.
2. The sugar tax debate continues
There was also a lot of noise around a sugar tax with Victorian MP Russell Broadbent calling for a sugar tax in parliament whilst deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce declared that he under a Coalition government, a sugar tax would not be considered due to the negative impact it would have on the Australian sugar industry.Those in favour of a tax included; The Obesity Coalition, AUSVEG, Cancer Council, LiveLighter, and Diabetes QLD.
Whilst, those also not in support of a tax included the; Canegrowers, The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) and The Australian Beverages Council.
In response to the growing discussion and debate on a sugar tax the SRAS have published an article online, “Sugary drinks tax – the great debate” which explores the pro’s and cons’ of a sugar tax
3. Release of obesity statistics
New research from Sydney Uni which has used modelling studies to show the populations obesity statistics will increase from 28% to 35% from 2010 to 2025. This is above the zero increase target set by the World Health Organisation. The biggest weight gain occurred in people aged between 25 and 45, and this was the result of environmental and lifestyle factors such as the availability of fast food and less engagement in physical activity. The model will be used to examine the evidence for successful prevention or weight loss programs and help researchers to work out the most effective – and cost-effective – ways to manage obesity in the future.