U.K. health groups urge color-coded nutrition labels

The British Dental Health Foundation is supporting an initiative to color-code the front labeling of food products to help consumers make healthier food choices.

The proposal was put forward by the British Heart Foundation and the Children's Food Campaign. Both organizations want the government to recommend a single front of pack nutrition labeling incorporating traffic light colors (green, yellow, red), which are easier for people, especially children, to understand and can be used to teach children about healthy diets.

The system could have a significant impact on the level of poor oral health in the U.K., according to Nigel Carter, BDS, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation.

"From the point of view of oral health, it is the frequency of sugar consumption, rather than quantity that is the main concern as we have moved from three square meals a day to seven to 10 snack attacks, many of which will contain sugar," he stated in a press release. "Looking for hidden sugars often listed as sucrose, maltose, glucose, and fructose can help the public cut down on how often they have sugary foods and drinks and help with both dental health and obesity."

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