health

The "confusing" drink labelling issue Jamie Oliver wants you to know about.

Image: Instagram (@jamieoliver)

While no-one is under any illusion that soft drinks are ‘healthy’, many of us are unaware of exactly what’s in them.

Even with the nutritional information listed on the bottle, the measurements used can make it difficult to visualise what’s actually contained in your fizzy drink — which is exactly what celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is hoping to change.

On a mission to decode the “confusing” drink labelling, Oliver has suggested an alternative system to identify how much sugar is in each drink by using teaspoons, posting an example on his Instagram.

Image: Instagram.

"Hi guys...In this picture I've stuck on how many teaspoons of sugar are inside these drinks to give you clear and quick clarity so you can be aware. The industry doesn't like this idea because in my opinion they would prefer you to be confused so you buy more product. Confusion = ££!," he wrote.

"Have a look at the current nutritional labelling below my hack, there is no way it's as clear and fast to understand is it?! Also guys be aware that these amounts apply to 250ml which is half the bottle AND this is for adult reference intake ?!? Not a child's ??? Confused Yeah!!? What would you prefer to see on labels for speed and clarity????".

The recommended sugar intake for women advised by the World Health Organisation is around 25 grams — just six teaspoons.

Oliver's campaign comes as suggestion for UK Prime Minister David Cameron is working on pulling actions together to create the Childhood Obesity Strategy to combat the growing problem of childhood obesity and lack of awareness.

"This labelling exercise is about honesty. My belief is that if the public are given "good clear information" then you often make pretty good choices. The coming months will bring me much ridicule from industry so our only hope is that you guys have your voice heard... I do this for you guys, tell me what you think," Oliver said. (Post continues after gallery.)

ADVERTISEMENT

On the back of his latest Super Food movement with a focus on healthy food, Oliver has been a loud campaigner for the introduction of a sugar tax, calling for the UK government to implement a three-year sugary drink tax of 20 per cent per litre,which amounts to just seven pence on a normal can of soft drink.

"I’ve seen first-hand the heartbreaking effects that poor diet and too much sugar is having on our children’s health and futures. Young children are needing multiple teeth pulled out under general anaesthetic and one in three kids [is] now leaving primary school overweight or obese. Soft drinks are the biggest single source of sugar among school-age kids and teenagers and so we have to start here," he told the Sunday Telegraph.

Practising what he preaches, he has already introduced his own sugar tax in all of his restaurants, charging an extra 10 pence (around 15 cents) for every drink containing sugar.

While it's obviously an individual's choice whether to drink soft drink and fruit juice and how much, Oliver raises an important point; labelling is often unclear. It's so important that they are easy to understand - for both adults and children - so people can make informed decisions about what they choose to eat and drink.

Do you think labelling drinks with how many teaspoons of sugar would be helpful?