Sugar levels in fruit juices and smoothies breach the sugar tax limits but remain exempt

Smoothies and fruit drinks made exempt from the new sugar tax have been found to contain on average twice as much as those that will be taxed, according to a new British Medical Journal (BMJ) study.

Research led by the University of Liverpool analysed the sugar content of 203 fruit juices, fruit drinks and smoothies stocked by seven major supermarkets and found that almost 60 per cent of the drinks exceeded the sugar tax threshold.

The average sugar content was 7g per 100ml and this figure significantly increased in fruit juices and smoothies. Among the 21 fruit juices analysed, the average was found to be 10.7 per 100ml. As for the 24 smoothies tested, the average was 13g per 100ml.

The researchers recommend that fruit juices, fruit drinks and smoothies with high sugar content should not count as one of the 'Five a Day' recommended by the government.

“Ideally, fruit should be consumed in its whole form, not as juice,” says the study. “Parents should dilute fruit juice with water, opt for unsweetened juices and only give them during meals. Portions should be limited to 150ml a day.”

George Osborne’s levy on sugar drinks comes in response to growing obesity and health problems, which sugary drinks can greatly contribute. Drinks containing 5g per 100ml will now be taxed and those with 8g or more per 100ml will be subjected to greater still tax.

The decision has been met with fierce opposition by many of the drinks giants, including Coca Cola, who threatening to sue the government.

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