As the new Making Sense of Sugar campaign launches, AB Sugar CEO Mark Carr explains why it is high time that the sugar industry fought back in the obesity debate.

Anyone walking past a news stand over the past year can’t have avoided noting how the obesity debate continues to capture the nation’s attention. Already in 2014 we’ve seen a number of reports, alarming headlines and confusing advice bandied around by the media. These column inches are just one of many reasons why we must address the issue of obesity in the UK head on.

However, there is a risk that much of the current debate and proposals may be moving away from the science. It is clearly of crucial importance that public health policy, in particular, is always based on robust evidence.

Obesity is a hugely complex issue that must be tackled in a considered and collaborative manner. However, sugar has been given more than its fair share of the blame over the past year.

Given just how many factors are at play, including levels of exercise and the rest of an individual’s diet, plus the fact that sugar has fewer calories per gram compared to fat and alcohol, we believe that singling out just one ingredient, such as sugar, can be confusing and misleading.

Likewise, we could run the risk as well of setting dietary recommendations for ourselves here in the UK that are difficult or almost impossible for most people to achieve. 

The science shows us that, in fact, obesity is caused by eating too many calories, combined with not doing enough exercise. It this imbalance between this energy (calories) in and energy (calories) out that we must mitigate against.

This is not about shifting the blame onto other ingredients – or selling more sugar – far from it. We strongly believe that instead we must look at this issue in the round and take our responsibility as a business very seriously.

This is why we are making a significant long term commitment by launching Making Sense of Sugar. This new campaign aims to educate and inform people not only about sugar and the role it can play as part of a healthy balanced diet, but how to achieve a healthier lifestyle. 

As industry, we need to take the obesity epidemic seriously and work together to help consumers better manage and balance their overall calorie intake and diet. In some cases this may mean that people choose to reduce their sugar intake, a step we have no intention of resisting. 

To find out more about the Making Sense of Sugar campaign and how you can get involved, visit and follow us @senseofsugar