Natural sugar not the same as added

Bill Jordan Chairman, Jordans Sir; I am writing in response to registered dietitian Angie Jefferson's letter in support of the overused industry axiom 'sugar is sugar' (Letters, The Grocer, 8 December, p26). The nutritional context in which sugar is consumed does have a very broad impact on people's health. The government's 5-a-day scheme to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables is easy to understand and has been widely embraced by the public. While it is simple, the scheme is effective and has contributed greatly to helping people make better decisions about their diet. Yet, as we know, all fruit and some vegetables store energy naturally as sugar. Irrespective of the specific types of sugars in fruit, nutritionists understand the difference between added sugar and that which is naturally present in foods such as fruit, vegetables and milk. Whether it is canned, frozen, fresh or dried, fruit is an important source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Nutritional advice is to cut down on added sugar, but not to avoid fruit, vegetables and milk as a way of reducing sugar intake. However, due to labelling laws, all naturally occurring sugar is currently labelled in exactly the same way as added sugar. While nutritional science can be complicated, the basics of healthy eating are not. Many breakfast cereals, especially muesli, contain dried fruit as well as whole grains, seeds and nuts, contributing towards a healthy diet. I for one am therefore pleased the Food Standards Agency has acknowledged the need to differentiate between the origins of sugar found in breakfast cereal.