CASH slams failure by many companies to reduce salt despite three weeks to go to reach the 2017 salt targets
Four QMUL researchers in the top 1 per cent
1 March 2018
Four researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have been placed in the top 1 per cent in the world, in this year’s Highly Cited Researchers list.
NEW shock survey reveals certain lunchtime meal deals sold by supermarkets and retailers contain up to 30 TEASPOONS of sugar – that’s the amount of sugar in 79 chocolate fingers
We are proud to announce that Kawther Hashem, Nutritionist and Researcher for Action on Sugar at Queen Mary University of London, has been awarded the GG2 Young Achiever Award at the GG2 Leadership Awards ceremony on Thursday 26th October. GG2 Leadership Awards have been, for the past 19 years, celebrating British talents and achievements among ethnic minorities.
NEW findings reveal some food manufacturers have INCREASED salt levels in their pesto sauces despite warnings that salt damages our health
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) will establish a new Centre for Preventive Neurology, thanks to £1.5m of funding from Barts Charity.
Wolfson staff win prizes at William Harvey Day
8 August 2017
Two members of staff from Wolfson Institute won prizes from the four poster awards at William Harvey Day yesterday.
Professor Jack Cuzick from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) has been elected as a new Fellow of the Royal Society. The election is in recognition of his achievements in the application of basic science discoveries to the practice of medicine, particularly preventive medicine in cancer.
Wolfson MSc student wins QM prize
8 August 2017
One of our MSc students – Ioanna Skaltsa - has been awarded one of only 5 College prizes within the SMD this year awarded to postgraduate taught students for academic excellence ( as indicated by the award of a Masters Degree or an MClinDent with distinction).
At the CCP, Professor Stephen Duffy is continuing his exceptional research track record in cancer epidemiology, screening and policy.
His new publication reports the results of the TOMMY trial that tested the effectiveness of adding a 3D imaging technique to standard mammography.
Cuzick and Bhui receive honours from the Queen
8 August 2017
Academics from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have been given two appointments of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and an appointment of Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), as published in the Queen’s New Year 2017 Honours List.
Tesco First to Take Action on Sugar
8 August 2017
- Action on Sugar’s plan for sugar reduction is underway!
- Tesco first to commit to reducing added sugars by 5% incrementally a year in ALL own label soft drinks
- Call on the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP to implement this strategy across the whole of the food and drink industry, with robust enforcement measures in place
- The UK can lead the world in reducing both the obesity and type 2 diabetes crisis
A study being published on 15th November in the BMJ Open entitled: Cross-sectional survey of the amount of sugar and calories in carbonated sugar-sweetened beverages on sale in the UK reveals, that the sugar content in carbonated sugar-sweetened beverages (CSSB) was found to be alarmingly high – with large variation in sugar content between different flavours and within the same type of flavour ranging from 3.3 to 52.8 g/330 mL – equivalent to 12 teaspoons.
Sugar - Cameron Must Act Now
8 August 2017
- Government's advisory committee FINALLY agrees to halve the recommendation for free sugars intakes to less than 5% of daily energy intake (i.e. 30g (7 tsp) for an adult) – less than one can of Coca Cola
- Calls for sugar-sweetened beverages to be minimised
- This represents a large and absolutely necessary reduction in sugar from current intakes; 12.1% to 5% for adults and 15.6% to 5% of daily energy intake for teenagers
- David Cameron must immediately take charge if the NHS is going to be saved from the crisis that we face from obesity and type 2 diabetes
Scientists from Queen Mary University of London have found text messaging prevents one in six patients from forgetting to take, or stopping, their prescribed medicines.
Violent Radicalisation and Terrorism are on the news on a daily basis with concerns expressed about young people involved in international terrorist movements. The process by which violent radicalisation takes place is complex and continuing to be investigated whilst counter-terrorism experts continue to try and minimise the risks and maximise public safety.
State of the Art Annual Congress
8 August 2017
This Mental Health Research Congress will bring together the best psychiatric research from international experts ranging from genomics through to public health. We will have cutting edge research presentations by international experts and by and from promising junior researchers who will become future leaders.
- Children’s juices can contain more sugars than Coca Cola!
- Parents should give their children water or whole fruit instead of juices
- These drinks are a major and unnecessary source of sugars and calories, causing tooth decay, obesity and type 2 diabetes
- 98% of hot flavoured drinks would receive a ‘red’ (high) label for excessive levels of sugars per serving – with 35% containing the same amount or more sugar than a can of Coca Cola
- Starbuck’s Hot Mulled Fruit - Grape with Chai, Orange and Cinnamon Venti is the worst offender, containing a whopping 25 teaspoons of sugar - more than THREE times the maximum ADULT daily intake of free sugars (7tsp/d)
- With the imminent release of the government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy – Action on Sugar is calling for stricter product reformulation of sugar and fat with mandated targets, a ban on promotions and marketing of unhealthy products and a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened drinks
A modest reduction in salt intake could reduce the risk of strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease in people with early onset type 2 diabetes, according to a study by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and St. Helier Hospital.
Risk & Public Protection Research Group (RPPRG) meeting
8 August 2017
QMUL scientists win Cancer Research UK prize
8 August 2017
A team of researchers led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have been awarded the 2014 Cancer Research UK Prize for Translational Cancer Research at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Liverpool.
Professor Kelly Brownell lecture 2015
8 August 2017
New study on the link between depression and radicalisation launched
Leading QMUL cancer researcher Professor Jack Cuzick has been given a prestigious award for his contributions to clinical research
Prevention and Early Detection of Prostate Cancer
8 August 2017
Postgraduate Mental Health Open Evening
8 August 2017
- 85% of processed fruit snacks contain more sugars per 100g than sweets e.g. Haribo Starmix
- These snacks are a completely unnecessary source of sugars and calories, contributing to tooth decay, obesity and type 2 diabetes and should NOT form part of a child’s 5 A Day
- New government urged to set sugar reduction targets immediately
Research led by CCP's Professor Sue Moss and the Bowel Cancer Screening Hubs has shown a markedly increased participation in a bowel cancer screening pilot study in England using a faecal immunochemical test for haemaglobin (FIT).
Data was presented in the prize-winning poster at the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI) Conference, hosted by Cancer Research UK on 27-28 March 2015, which demonstrated that the uptake of screening with FIT was significantly greater than that for the currently used guaiac-based faecal occult blood test (gFOBt).
- Survey exposes misconception that popcorn is a healthy snack
- Cineworld large salted popcorn contains nearly the MAXIMUM daily recommended intake of salt for an adult! That’s more salt than two McDonald’s Big Mac & fries, and nearly the same amount of calories!
- Popcorn can also be extremely high in sugars, with some cinema popcorn containing nearly 30 teaspoons of sugar – more sugar than three cans of coca cola
- CASH calls for these very high levels of salt and sugars in popcorn to be immediately reduced
- Children’s meals in ‘family friendly’ eateries revealed to STILL contain dangerously high levels of salt - habituating children to the taste of salt
- Over a quarter of meals surveyed contain 2g or more of salt per meal - that’s the entire maximum recommendation for a whole day for a 1-3 year old – and more salt than 4 packets of crisps!
- Too much salt in childhood puts up blood pressure, which leads to strokes and heart failure
- Call for the maximum recommendation of salt for children to be lowered
- New analysis suggests direct link between salt intake and obesity. A 1 g/day increase in salt intake is associated with more than 25%
- increase in risk of obesity (both children and adults)
- Findings are independent of energy intake or sugar-sweetened beverage consumption
- CASH warns that an escalating obesity epidemic will cripple the NHS if the increase in diet related issues are not stopped immediately
- Government urged to act now by applying pressure on the food industry to achieve a 30% reduction in population salt intake
New research in northern China funded by the UK MRC shows that:
- Primary school children can get their whole family to reduce salt intake while being taught during their usual health education lessons about the dangers of eating salt and how to reduce it
- Over one school term (3.5 months), salt intake was reduced by a quarter in both children, and parents and grandparents with a significant fall in systolic blood pressure in adults
- This represents a novel and important way of reducing salt intake in countries where most of the salt is added by consumers
- It is estimated that the reduction in salt intake would prevent approximately 200,000 stroke and heart attack deaths per year in China alone, and also have major implications for other countries
New research has predicted one in two people in the UK will develop cancer at some point in their lives, according to the most accurate forecast to date from Queen Mary University of London and Cancer Research UK.
- Over half of cereals (58%) contained high levels of sugar (over 22.5g/100g) – nearly 6 teaspoons of sugar per 100g
- Not one single product featured contained low levels of sugar
- The UK leads the way with SALT reduction BUT still has a way to go with SUGAR reduction – Kellogg’s Frosties contains a whopping 9 teaspoons of sugar/100g
- 98 out of 291 (34%) of cereals surveyed were above the 2017 UK salt target for breakfast cereals
- WASH calls on breakfast cereal manufacturers to reduce the salt and sugar of its products to the lowest levels across all countries
Full data set availablehere [PDF 500KB]
Full media coverage here
- Eight out of ten (134/163) meals contain more than 1g salt per serving – that’s the max recommendation for a meal for a child aged 4-6 years
- One meal contained as much salt as 10 packets of ready salted crisps (5.34g)
- Over a year, a child in Costa Rica could be eating a WHOPPING 18 teaspoons (106.56g) MORE salt than a child eating the same meal in the UK
- Too much salt in childhood habituates children to the taste of salt, and puts up blood pressure, which leads to strokes and heart failure
Scientists have developed a new HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine which protects against nine types of the virus – seven of which cause most cases of cervical cancer. The new vaccine offers significantly greater protection than the current vaccine, which protects against only two cancer causing types of HPV.
The preventive effect of breast cancer drug ‘tamoxifen’ remains virtually constant for at least 20 years – with rates reduced by around 30 per cent – new analysis published in The Lancet Oncology reveals
- New research exposes instant noodles can contain dangerously high levels of salt e.g. Ko-Lee Instant Noodles Chicken Flavour contains more salt per serving than 12 packets of salted crisps!
- 6 products contain 5g or more of salt per serving – that is more than the World Health Organisation recommended maximum daily intake for salt
- Several supermarkets’ own labels contain 10 times less salt
- Over a third of products surveyed contain more than 2 teaspoons of sugar per serving
The food we eat is now the BIGGEST cause of death and ill health in the UK, owing to the large amounts of salt, saturated fat and sugars added by the food industry. The UK is in desperate need of an independent agency to improve nutrition, which the responsibility deal has failed to do according to a new paper by CASH (Consensus Action on Salt and Health), published today in the BMJ.
The UK’s salt reduction programme, started in 2005 and pioneered by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and CASH, has been considered a worldwide success. The programme involved a collaborative effort with the food industry to reduce salt in the nation’s diet. This was done by setting up specific salt targets for 86 categories of food, with the aim of re-setting them every 4 years. Whilst the targets remained voluntary, monitoring of the food industry was maintained throughout, ensuring no company lagged behind. As a result, significant reductions in salt intake were made at a population level, consequently reducing blood pressure and resulting in fewer deaths from heart attack and stroke.
Unfortunately under the coalition government, responsibility for nutrition was taken away from the FSA by Andrew Lansley, disturbing progress in salt reduction made by the FSA. Lansley’s decision to hand power back to the food industry as part of the flawed responsibility deal has meant potentially 4 years of salt reduction has been lost, putting an estimated 6,000 lives per year at risk and draining valuable NHS resources.
CASH is now calling for urgent action to protect and improve the nation’s health together with an independent agency for nutrition and a transparent monitoring programme to improve the food that we eat once and for all.
“The food industry is the biggest and most powerful industry in the world. Most of the foods that it currently provides are very high in salt, fat and sugars, causing increased risk of strokes, heart failure and heart attacks, and predisposing to cancer than healthier alternatives. It is therefore imperative that robust mechanisms should be set up immediately to control the food industry in a similar way to the tobacco industry,” says Professor Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and leading author of the BMJ paper.
“If the food industry were forced to produce healthier food, it would result in major reductions in cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as healthcare costs.”
In 2005, the FSA – the independent governing body responsible for nutrition at that time – developed the first set of voluntary salt targets for the food industry to follow. This was drawn up following strong evidence that salt intake raised blood pressure. Along with public awareness campaigns e.g. Sid the Slug, close monitoring and enforcement of the targets was made by the FSA and non-governmental organisations to ensure that all major food companies were involved. The targets were set up with the intention of gradually lowering them further every four years until the target for population salt intake of 6g/day was achieved.
In the 5 years after the policy was introduced the salt content of many food products has been gradually reduced by around 20-40%, with no reported loss of sales. Within the same period of time, average population salt intake has fallen by 15%, from 9.5g/day to 8.1g/day. This was accompanied by a fall in population blood pressure and mortality from stroke and coronary heart disease. As a result of these reductions, it is estimated that 9,000 deaths from stroke and coronary heart disease have been prevented each year, with annual healthcare savings of around £1.5bn in the UK.
Disruption by the coalition government
Following the formation of the coalition government in 2010, Andrew Lansley was appointed secretary of state for health and transferred responsibility for nutrition from the FSA to the Department of Health. This disrupted the salt reduction programme, making it unclear who would be responsible for the policy. In 2011, Lansley launched the responsibility deal, whereby he made the alcohol and food industries responsible for reducing alcohol consumption and improving nutrition, respectively!
No further commitment to the salt targets were made by the responsibility deal, until Andrew Lansley was replaced by Jeremy Hunt and Anna Soubry was appointed minister for Public Health. New targets were eventually set in 2014 to be achieved by 2017, but the delay has meant momentum in salt reduction has been lost, with many companies stopping or slowing down their planned reductions in salt added to foods.
This delay has disrupted progress in salt reduction. CASH estimates that over the last four years salt intake would have been further reduced by around 0.9g/day. Assuming no salt reductions have been made over this period, the lost 0.9 g/day corresponds to approximately 6,000 deaths per year from stroke and heart attack which could have been prevented, over 4,000 per year of which would have been premature.
Additionally, there has been very poor sign-up to the 2017 salt targets, with big companies such as Unilever, McDonalds and Kellogg’s failing to publicly commit to the responsibility deal.
Sonia Pombo, a nutritionist at CASH and joint author says, “The responsibility deal is no longer fit for purpose. For too long the food industry have been allowed to police themselves, putting the health of our nation at risk. It is therefore imperative that responsibility for nutrition be handed back to an independent agency, where it is not affected by changes in government, ministers, or political lobbying. Let’s get the UK back on track with salt reduction and retain our status as world leaders.”
- 46% of breakfast biscuits surveyed contain the same or more sugars than a bowl (30g) of Kellogg’s Coco Pops
- 38% of products would have a red warning colour on front of pack nutrition labelling for high sugar content
- Not ONE single product featured green front of pack labelling for sugars
- Every single product contained at least one and some up to four teaspoons of sugars per serving
- Government urged to include reformulation and clearer guidance on labelling as part of its long overdue Childhood Obesity Strategy due to be published this summer
Academics researching molecular biology and clinical medicine have been named on Thomson Reuter’s Highly Cited Researchers 2015 list which recognises the top one per cent most cited papers published between 2003 and 2013
First IBIS-II results published
8 August 2017
Energy Drinks Fuel the Obesity Epidemic
8 August 2017
- New research reveals huge and unnecessary amount of sugars in energy drinks
- Energy drinks contain up to 20 teaspoons of sugar (78g) per 500ml serving – more than THREE times the maximum ADULT daily intake of free sugars per day (25g)
- These products serve no purpose whatsoever but make children addicted to caffeine and habituated to sugars
- Sales of energy drinks to children under 16 should be BANNED!
For full data per 100ml, click here [PDF 253KB]
For full data per serving, click here [PDF 302KB]
For media coverage, click here
Dr John Schiller lecture 2016
8 August 2017
- NEW research exposes many shop bought dips as being huge salt and fat traps loaded with excess calories
- A staggering 74% of houmous products have a red front of pack label for fat
- A serving of ASDA’s taramasalata contains as much salt as 13 Ritz crackers
- CASH is urgently calling for the government’s to stop dragging their feet and produce a strong and robust Obesity Strategy that will include reducing salt and fat in the nation’s diet
Daily aspirin can reduce cancer risk
8 August 2017
Cereals Still Stuffed With Sugar
8 August 2017
- Manufacturers claim to be improving the nation’s breakfast but in fact the highest sugar containing cereals have either increased or stayed the same since 2012
- 14 out of 50 cereals contain a THIRD or more (≥33.3g/100g) sugar, or 8 teaspoons per 100g
- Companies should look to the success of the salt reduction programme and reduce sugars, NOW!
- NEW findings reveal only 1 out of the 28 food categories surveyed by CASH are on track to meet Public Health England’s (PHE) 2017 Salt Reduction Targets - with just 9 months to go New FoodSwitch UK App exposes huge variations in salt content of similar shopping basket items – the saltiest shopping basket had 107g of salt compared to a basket containing the same categories of foods with only 47g of salt i.e. a 60g difference which is equivalent to 130 bags of Walkers Ready Salted crisps
- Galaxy Ultimate Marshmallow Hot Chocolate is saltier than seawater and has 16 times more salt (per 100g) than the maximum target – one serving is saltier than a bag of crisps!
- CASH is now asking PHE to immediately ensure that the 2017 targets are met and that they urgently set MANDATORY targets for 2020, as asked for by many leading supermarkets
- 88% of sugar-sweetened soft drink products contain more than your entire recommendation for the day (25g)1 in a 330ml can
- Sprite in Thailand contains the highest amount of free sugars - a staggering 12 tsp of sugar in a single can2
- UK manufacturers still producing drinks high in free sugars despite being one of the countries in Europe where obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay are high
- Leading supermarkets in the UK prefer to follow set sugar reduction targets – branded companies must now do the same
That’s three times a child’s entire daily-recommended maximum sugar intake1 and more sugar than 10 Krispy Kremes
- A Lemon Slice, Blueberry Muffin and a Carrot Cake are the worst offenders, sold in Starbucks and Pret a Manger – each with 10 or more teaspoons of sugar per serving
- Compared to cafes, supermarkets are leading the way when it comes to offering customers lower calories and sugar per serving
- Action on Sugar urges food manufacturers and cafes to participate in Public Health England’s voluntary sugar reduction programme to help tackle obesity and type 2 diabetes
- Today, Action on Sugar publishes an evidenced-based 6 point plan for immediate action by Cameron
- Establishing an independent, but government-funded, agency is critical for industry regulation
- The escalating costs of obesity (£5.1 billion) and type 2 diabetes (£10 billion) are likely to bankrupt the NHS