Regulation of food and drink high in sugar

An unhealthy diet can cause overweight and obesity and secondary diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. An important question is if it through national regulation like legislation and price policies is possible to promote better food habits and better public health.

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SBU Enquiry Service

Consists of structured literature searches to highlight studies that can address questions received by the SBU Enquiry Service from Swedish healthcare or social service providers. We assess the risk of bias in systematic reviews and when needed also quality and transferability of results in health economic studies. Relevant references are compiled by an SBU staff member, in consultation with an external expert when needed.


Does regulation of food and drink high in sugar have an effect on public health?

Identified studies

  1. Wright A, Smith KE, Hellowell M. Policy lessons from health taxes: a systematic review of empirical studies. BMC Public Health 2017;17:583.
  2. Backholer K, Sarink D, Beauchamp A, Keating C, Loh V, Ball K, et al. The impact of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages according to socio-economic position: a systematic review of the evidence. Public Health Nutr 2016:1-15.
  3. Bes-Rastrollo M, Sayon-Orea C, Ruiz-Canela M, Martinez-Gonzalez MA. Impact of sugars and sugar taxation on body weight control: A comprehensive literature review. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2016;24:1410-26.
  4. Nakhimovsky SS, Feigl AB, Avila C, O'Sullivan G, Macgregor-Skinner E, Spranca M. Taxes on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages to Reduce Overweight and Obesity in Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review. PLoS One 2016;11:e0163358.
  5. Alagiyawanna A, Townsend N, Mytton O, Scarborough P, Roberts N, Rayner M. Studying the consumption and health outcomes of fiscal interventions (taxes and subsidies) on food and beverages in countries of different income classifications; a systematic review. BMC Public Health 2015;15:887.
  6. Niebylski ML, Redburn KA, Duhaney T, Campbell NR, Author A, World H, et al. Healthy food subsidies and unhealthy food taxation: A systematic review of the evidence. Nutrition 2015;31:787-95.
  7. Maniadakis N, Kapaki V, Damianidi L, Kourlaba G. A systematic review of the effectiveness of taxes on nonalcoholic beverages and high-in-fat foods as a means to prevent obesity trends. Clinicoecon Outcomes Res 2013;5:519-43.
  8. Chambers SA, Freeman R, Anderson AS, MacGillivray S, Author A, Oral H, et al. Reducing the volume, exposure and negative impacts of advertising for foods high in fat, sugar and salt to children: A systematic review of the evidence from statutory and self-regulatory actions and educational measures. Preventive Medicine 2015;75:32-43.
Published: Report no: ut201831 Registration no: SBU 2018/512

Literature search

Project group

Miriam Entesarian Matsson, Laura Lintamo and Emin Hoxha Ekström at SBU.

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