Scots’ daily consumption of 110 tonnes of sugar from cut-price food and drink is fuelling obesity, a University of Stirling academic has warned.
Linda Bauld, Professor of Health Policy, spoke out after Cancer Research UK calculations suggested Scottish people devour the equivalent amount of sugar packed into 4.3 million chocolate bars – or 3.1 million cans of cola – every day, through unhealthy food and drink bought on special offers.
Cancer Research UK said they carried out the research to highlight why Scotland is in the grip of an obesity epidemic.
Professor Bauld, a Cancer Research UK cancer prevention expert, said: “Obesity is the unpalatable cost of the cheap deals routinely served up in our shops.
“It leaves a bad taste to know such an enormous amount of discounted sugar is lining our stomachs and weighing so heavily on the nation’s health.
“We need urgent action now to prevent thousands of cancers in the future.”
With obesity linked to 13 different types of cancer, Cancer Research UK called for government restrictions on multi-buy offers and related promotions on unhealthy food.
These promotions account for around 40 percent of all expenditure on food and drinks consumed at home in Scotland.
Scotland also has among the highest obesity rates in Europe, according to NHS Health Scotland information. Cancer Research UK commissioned a YouGov survey that suggested around seven in 10 Scots supporting restrictions on multi-buy offers on high-fat and sugar-laden foods.
Professor Bauld added: “When it publishes its obesity strategy, the Scottish Government has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to introduce measures that will have a profound impact on our lives.
“We know that less healthy foods and drinks are more likely to be bought on promotion than healthier foods and anyone who regularly navigates the aisles knows how hard offers on junk food are to resist.
“And with studies showing the most deprived in our society are more often obese and less likely to get their five-a-day of fruit and vegetables, much more needs to be done to make healthy options affordable instead.”