A new study claims a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened drinks would reduce the number of adults who are obese or overweight by 285,000.

The tax would raise £276million a year to help the NHS cope with the burden of obesity-related illnesses, says the report.

There have been growing calls for a tax on soft drinks with high sugar content as a way of cutting the rise in obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

Sugar is a silent but deadly killer. Its consumption contributes to around 35 million deaths worldwide every year.

“I think we are all getting hooked on refined sugar,” says Shaw Somers, a specialist surgeon and doctor on Channel 4's Food Hospital. “It is so immediately gratifying – an energy boost.

“There's no recommended daily limit in terms of calories but if sugar makes up a disproportionate amount of your diet, you will gain weight – it’s a very concentrated form of calories.”

Know what you're drinking:

  • Starburst Strawberry flavour milk, 400ml, 42g sugar = 11 HobNob biscuits
  • Apple juice, 250ml, 42g sugar = 4 original glazed Krispy Kreme Donuts
  • Ribena, 500ml, 52.6g sugar = 13 Oreo cookies
  • Orange juice, 500ml, 51g sugar = 13 HobNob biscuits