A CAMPAIGN to slash sugar from foods has bombed — with many sweets and puddings getting less healthy.
Two in three major brands have ignored pleas to voluntarily cut levels.
A Public Health England progress report shows levels have stayed the same or increased in half of ten food groups targeted since 2015.
Experts have stressed the worrying data shows that compulsory action, such as the controversial sugar tax on soft drinks, is more effective. The National Obesity Forum’s Tam Fry warned “self-regulation is like leaving the vampires in charge of the bloodbank”.
The PHE report covers ten categories — biscuits, cereals, chocolate, ice cream, puddings, yoghurts, sweets, cakes, breakfast goods and spreads.
Its chief nutritionist Dr Alison Tedstone admitted some foods have made very little or no progress.
Makers were told to voluntarily shrink products, change recipes or offer healthier alternatives.
Instead, most had done nothing about it or made their offerings even sweeter by 2018.
The overall amount of sugar in supermarket favourites rose from 723,000 tons in 2015 to 743,000 in last year.
It suggests the average Brit is consuming 0.5 per cent more since the crackdown’s launch. Sugar tax did help to slash amounts by 29 per cent in sweetened drinks, says the report.
It is ten times more than the 2.9 per cent overall average drop in the voluntary scheme.
Prof Michael Escudier, from the Royal College of Surgeons, said: “We all try to balance the ‘carrot and stick approach’, but we see it is the sticks that are working.”
The Institute of Economic Affairs think tank said the rise in sugar consumption showed “the Government has no idea what it is doing”.
Two in three adults are too fat. Health bosses want kids to consume 20 per cent less sugar by 2020.
A Government spokesman said: “We are determined to tackle this.”
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