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Opinion : Will the ‘sugar tax’ lead to more artificial sweeteners in fizzy drinks?

| April 28, 2018

There’s nothing like a nice tin of fizzy drink to round off a nice sandwich at lunchtime.

With so many exciting flavours to choose from in my opinion a fizzy drink is the pinnacle of the processed consumer products produced by the modern food industry. Aren’t we lucky to live in the age of miracle refreshment from a portable tin?

Indeed you can carry a tin of fizzy drink anywhere in your pocket and when one feels thirsty all you need to do is pull the opener on the tin and hear the satisfying ‘pssssss‘ sound as the fizzy drink prepares itself to be drunk.

Naturally my good self always buys healthy fizzy drinks, by healthy I mean those without too many chemicals, additives or other nasty ingredients that are not purely natural ingredients.

Surprisingly many fizzy drinks do contain ‘natural’ sweeteners such as sugar with the artificial chemical sweetener additives mainly restricted to the ‘diet’ range of drinks.

As with anything good there is always a party pooper who will inevitably come along and ruin the show. Sadly in the case of fizzy drinks the Government has stupidly decided to introduce a ‘sugar tax‘ on my favourite beverage supposedly to crack down on obesity linked to sugar intake through soft drinks.

Apparently some groups in society, such as teenagers, consume nearly a bathtub of sugary drinks in a year and were getting a quarter of their sugar intake through soft drinks which was fuelling a worrying obesity trend.

However my good self is left wondering if there is going to be a big downside to this sugar tax.

The other day yours truly visited a local supermarket to purchase a supply of fizzy drinks. On the shelf there was a notice saying the price had risen as a result of the ‘sugar tax’.

Being of an inquisitive nature your humble servant picked up a six pack of my favourite lemonade just to check the ingredients.

To my horror ‘sugar’ was no longer listed, instead the ingredients now list ‘Acesulfame K‘, this is a calorie-free sweetener up to 200 times sweeter than sugar and as sweet as aspartame.

Oh dear. It seems the trusty sugar had been replaced with a man made, chemically synthesized and obviously artificial ingredient.

It may be all well and good introducing a ‘sugar tax’ to cut down on obesity but I fear a whole generation of youngsters will be exposed to artificial chemical sweeteners as a result.

So yours truly is now left wondering what’s the difference between a ‘normal’ fizzy drink and a ‘diet’ drink? Both have artificial sweeteners and both are now low calorie.

Now, given a choice y good self would rather have sugar in the drink after all it’s a natural ingredient that we know doesn’t cause side effects apart from obesity….

What do you think?

My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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