Sugar Tax & Diabetes

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While we think sugar reduction is an important measure to reduce the risk of  Type 2 diabetes, we are aware that
people living with diabetes may rely on sugary food or drink to manage their hypos. We will talk about some of the
concerns and advice given to people using sugary soft drinks and foods to treat their hypos.
On average, we’re all eating and drinking way too much sugar. This leads to weight gain and increases our risk of
getting Type 2 diabetes. This is why the government has announced two main measures to reduce the sugar in our
food and drinks.
The first is the Sugary Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) sometimes called the sugar tax. This levy will charge manufacturers
for producing soft drinks that are high in added sugar. The aim of this is to encourage the soft drink industry to change
their recipes to reduce the sugar content in their drinks. This came into force in April 2018.
The second is the sugar reduction programme, run by Public Health England. Its aim is to reduce the amount of sugar
in foods by 20% by 2020. This focus is on the food products commonly eaten by children, so things like sweets,
chocolate, yoghurt and biscuits.
In some cases the content of peoples hypo treatments will change. As both the levy and the sugar reduction
programme allow food industries to decide what to do next, some are planning to reduce the sugar content, some are
already doing it and some will choose to make no changes to their recipes what so ever. It won’t always be clear if
companies have lowered the sugar content of their food or drinks and they might not make it public knowledge if the
do make any changes.
This means it’s very important that if you use a sugary drink or food to treat a hypo that you make sure you check the
label to make sure you consume enough to treat it.
You may also want to have a conversation with your diabetes team about the different options and best treatments for
a hypo. If you or someone you are caring for is having hypos regularly, we recommend you speak to the diabetes
team also, so that they can review the best treatment and management options.

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