UK traffic labels indicate that orange juice is worse than diet coca-cola

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 14th November 2012

The new UK traffic light food labelling system has been praised by many as a convenient way to choose healthy food. However, a UK weight loss company, Differ Diets, claims that the system will  be “adding to the country’s spiraling obesity epidemic” because the wrong nutritional values are being used.

“Since when has a packet of pineapple been more damaging that a chocolate bar? Or a fresh piece of steak worse than a microwavable hamburger?” rhetorically pointed out.

The UK traffic light system was officially launched at the end of October 2012, and offers red, yellow and green labels on supermarket foods to “help consumers make healthier choices.”

Differ Diets argues that many products containing unsaturated fats have been incorrectly placed in the red zone, as the body requires unsaturated fat “to function.” The company says examples include nuts and seeds, which appear to have been labelled as “more fattening” than many products containing artificial ingredients.

Further, Differ Diets argue that the system fails to take into account other ingredients in products, and that under the UK traffic light labelling system, an orange juice is considered less healthy than a diet coca-cola.

“A glass of diet coke contains less than a calorie and no sugar whatsoever. However, some of the ingredients include E150d, acesulfame-K and phosphoric acid. Consuming high levels of artificial sweeteners has been linked with severe headaches, addictions and an increased desire for sugary products,” Differ Diets said.

A survey by research company Canadean reported by Australian Food News last month, found that many UK consumers considered the traffic light label scheme “too confusing.”

The UK supermarket group ASDA has also publicly raised concerns that having a red label on a product would “demonise it.”