There’s a new sugar tax coming, and this time the target is chocolate. The news was revealed to Britain’s confectionery industry at the annual chocolate conference last week. This policy is the initiative of Public Health England, and the new tax will take effect by 2020.
The government is also dictating other measures restricting the marketing of chocolate bars: a ban from display at checkouts, elimination of discounts for volume purchases, and mandatory nutrition information clearly printed on the front of all bars.
Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, continues:
We have seen some of the food industry make good progress, and they should be commended for this. We also know that further progress is in the pipeline. However, tackling the obesity crisis needs the whole food industry to step up, in particular, those businesses that have taken little or no action.
The obesity rates in the UK keep escalating and policymakers are desperately trying to reverse the trend. Is a focus on chocolate the answer?
We are skeptical. Choosing the right kind of chocolate, one with a high-cocoa rate, may even be beneficial to your health. Although chocolate is not truly low carb, one or two thin squares of high-cocoa chocolate (70%+) can, on occasion, fit into a strict low-carb diet. For more liberal low-carb eaters, regular dark chocolate treats are possible. One small thin square (10 grams or about a third of an ounce) of 86% chocolate contains only about 2 grams of net carbs. Switch to 70% chocolate and the net carbs go up to about 3.5 grams per square. In contrast, regular chocolate can be 6 grams of net carbs or more per square — not an option for those eating low carb.
We recently reported that sugar is now the UK consumer’s top worry. Rightly so. But as the UK’s leading chocolate taste tester, Angus Kennedy, points out, candy bars and other desserts aren’t the only sugar source:
If you’re indulging in chocolate, you are aware you’re eating a treat. But 80% of our food in the supermarkets has sugar in [it]. Things some would not be aware of. And that is the side that is slightly unfair I feel.