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New calls for sugar tax in New Zealand

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The call for a sugar tax has been strengthened by a new study of New Zealand’s soft drinks which shows they contain more sugar than in other countries.

The University of Waikato research found the drinks contained a higher amount of sugar than those in most other Western countries, New Zealand Herald reports.

Lead author Lynne Chepulis said the average fruit juice or soda in New Zealand had up to five or six teaspoons of sugar, compared with maybe three or four teaspoons in the United Kingdom.

She said regulations like sugar taxes were encouraging manufacturers to reduce the sugar content in their drinks.

FIZZ founder Dr Gerhard Sundborn said that on average, we had one-and-a-half times more sugar in our fizzy drinks and juice than the likes of Canada, Australia and the US.

He said there was no real regulation around sugar or its industry and that it was time for that to change.

On the back of the findings, the New Zealand Dental Association has also called for action.

Spokesman Dr Rob Beaglehole said there should be an icon on sugary drinks showing how many teaspoons of sugar were in them, a sugary drinks tax and schools should all have water-only policies.

Sugar was a major contributor to dental decay, and the study showed that drinks sold in New Zealand had several teaspoons of sugar more than similar products sold in other countries, he said.