Making Sense Of Sugar


Sugar and obesity

Food and drink provides our bodies with energy in the form of calories. If we consistently consume more ‘energy’ or calories than our bodies use, then this can lead to an accumulation of excess body fat. This can then result in obesity.


In England, according to government statistics, around 68% of men and 58% of women are considered obese or
overweight, while around over 1 in 5 children in Reception, and over 1 in 3 children in Year 6 were measured as
obese or overweight (15).

Obesity is a complex issue and there are many factors which contribute (26). For example, many of us are simply leading less active lifestyles – whether that’s sitting at a desk all day long, driving more and walking less, or watching TV. If we are consuming too many calories the result is excess weight gain. We need to think about our lifestyles just that little bit more and how we can balance what we eat (for example by counting calories) with what we burn off.

Just like protein, starch and fat, sugar is a source of calories in the diet and excess calories from any ingredient or product can lead to being overweight. However the suggestion that sugar alone is responsible for the rise in obesity rates in the UK is too simplistic. It also is not supported by Government statistics which show a reduction of 16.6% per capita in consumption of total sugars in the UK since 2001 (10).

The best way to avoid becoming obese is to eat a healthy balanced diet and to exercise on a regular basis. Your doctor can advise you on the best diet for your individual needs.


  • Physical activity and exercise can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke and help maintain a healthy weight. (7).
  • Total sugars consumption is falling in the UK while obesity rates continue to rise. (10) (15).