Diabetes charity calls for traffic light labelling for all foods

by Sarita Sheth on August 9, 2012

Traffic light labelling enables people to make healthy eating choices

Charity Diabetes UK is calling for traffic light style labelling on food to help stem the rise in type 2 diabetes by enabling people to make more healthy eating choices.

In a response to a government consultation on food labelling the charity says it is supporting traffic light coding with high, medium and low option with the possibility of guidelines on daily amounts as being overweight and eating a poor diet contributes to the risk of diabetes.

‘We want people to be able to make healthier choices and understand the contents of different foods more clearly. Poor diet contributes significantly to the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Being overweight or obese are major risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and account for 80 to 85% of the overall risk of developing the condition,’ said a spokesman.

‘Also in our consultation response, we have highlighted the importance of effective food labelling in helping people with diabetes, type 1 and 2, manage their condition, as diets high in fat, salt and sugar increase their risk of developing serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and amputation,’ he added.

Diabetes UK has also emphasised the importance of including carbohydrate content on all packaged foods, as this information is essential to people with diabetes.

‘We want to see labelling that uses a traffic light system together with text setting out whether the product is high, medium or low and the optional addition of percentage guideline daily amounts and we have made this clear in our response to the consultation,’ said Barbara Young, Diabetes UK chief executive.

‘With around a quarter of adults in the UK classed as obese and at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes as well as other chronic conditions, it is important that we have food labelling that makes it easy for people to make healthy choices,’ she explained.

‘Independent evidence shows that the traffic light system works better than labels which show only Guideline Daily Amounts to help shoppers make healthy choices when buying food. This is not about telling people what to eat but instead empowering them to lead healthier and happier lives,’ she added.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jessica August 10, 2012 at 6:38 am

But labelling will also cause people to stop thinking about what they choose to eat and won't be targetted in the correct way. I need low carb/high fat food which of course will be labelled as Red. This will also tell other diabetics not to eat high fat foods. It's a stupid system whcih will perpetuate food myths and keep obesity as a major concern. People ned to understand what effects their glucose levels and understand what makes them put on weight. It isn't fat.

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