Sugar tax debate: Sainsbury's ready meal contains more sugar than a can of Coca Cola, reveals Public Health England

Madeline Ratcliffe
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Sainsbury's crispy sweet and sour chicken contains 61.2g of sugar (Source: Sainsbury's)

Who says you can't have too much of a good thing? Well, some supermarket ready meals contain almost twice as much sugar as those often-vilified cans of fizzy drinks.

Sainsbury's crispy sweet and sour chicken, is the worst offender, with 61.2g of sugar in a 400g serving, which is the equivalent to almost 13 teaspoons.

A can of Coca-Cola contains 35g of sugar, or nine teaspoons-worth of the sweet-stuff.

A joint investigation by the Telegraph and campaign group Action on Sugar found that many supermarket meals contained more than the government’s guideline daily amount of sugar- ten tablespoons.

This comes in the midst of increasing pressure on the government to introduce a 'sugar tax.'

Public Health England said in a report published last week, that there should be a sugar tax of between 10 and 20 per cent on fizzy drinks and sweet snacks to help tackle obesity. However, Downing Street confirmed on Thursday that David Cameron had already ruled out a sugar tax before reading the report.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has recently thrown his weight behind the campaign for such a tax, appearing in front of the House of Commons' Health Committee to call on the Prime Minister to take action. Oliver said he believes a sugar tax could raise up to £1bn, and would like to see the money split between the NHS and primary schools.

According to the new survey, sweet and sour chicken was the worst offender in most stores.

Other dishes that contained more than a can of Coke’s worth of sugar include:

  • Waitrose lemon chicken in batter, with a sugar content of 42.6g
  • Tesco’s pad Thai with noodles containing 37.8g
  • Marks and Spencer chilli chicken dish with 48.4g of sugar
  • Sainsbury’s duck in plum sauce containing 52.8g of sugar

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