An article in The Guardian last week reported that Waitrose are the first UK supermarket to ban the sale of high energy drinks to under 16’s because of the high level of sugar and caffeine they contain and the effect this is having on the behaviour of children.
The teaching union NASUWT last month called for a ban on the sale of these drinks to under-16s. They were referred to as “legal highs” that helped to fuel bad behaviour in schools.
The family of a 25 year old who committed suicide late last year, are convinced that his intake, over 15 cans a day of high energy drinks increased his anxiety and contributed to his death.
The Food Standards Agency says these drinks contain levels of caffeine in a small 250mg can similar to three cans of cola.
Katherine Jenner, campaign director at Action on Sugar, was delighted to see Waitrose take this stand, she said “Energy drinks are completely inappropriate for children to consume and form no part of a healthy, balanced diet, and should be banned for under-16s across the board.”
The huge intake of sugar is linked to obesity, various types of cancer, type 2 diabetes as well as rotting children’s teeth. From April 2018 companies that produce sugar-sweetened drinks will have to pay a soft drinks tax in an effort to tackle the nation's obesity problem.
In addition, sugary drinks will be removed from NHS canteens, shops and vending machines during 2018. Almost two thirds of NHS trusts have signed a voluntary scheme to reduce sales of sugary drinks to 10 per cent or less of sold beverages. Some NHS Trusts have already introduced their own ban on sugary drinks.
Chief Executive of NHS England has said "It's important the NHS practices what it preaches on healthy food and drink. We want 2018 to be the year when the tasty, affordable and easy option for patients, staff and visitors is the healthy option."
Let’s hope other supermarkets and hospitals will follow suit very soon.