DIET Sweet-toothed Britons in decline

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Sugar consumption fell to a 20-year low in the first quarter of the year as Britons became increasingly health-conscious about their food at home.

New government figures show that at the start of the year we ate more green vegetables, fruit, eggs and skimmed milk, and less fatty food. Yet we are spending 13 per cent more than last year on alcoholic drinks, soft drinks and sweets, according to the latest National Food Survey (NFS), covering the first quarter of 1997.

The survey also shows that household consumption of beef has recovered completely from the BSE scare of last year. Compared to the same period in 1996, when the goverment announced a possible link between "mad cow disease" and the fatal human illness, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), beef consumption was 5 per cent higher, continuing an upward trend over the past nine months. Charles Arthur