People who rely on Lucozade to treat hypos are being urged to check the labels of the energy drink as the amount of sugar is being halved.
The new formula, which will apply to all Lucozade flavours as well as the original, will be implemented from April 2017.
Currently, 100ml of Lucozade Original contains 17g of carbohydrate; this will be reduced to 8.9g.
People who suffer from hypos are advised to drink 15-20g of sugar to treat their low blood sugar, but once the Lucozade recipe has been introduced this will no longer be equivalent to 100ml of the drink.
In a section on the Diabetes UK website about hypos it said: “For those of you that use Lucozade Energy Original as your hypo treatment of choice, please be aware that from April 2017, it will contain 50 per cent less sugar, so it is likely you will have to drink more to treat your hypo.
“For a period of time, there will be both old and new stock of Lucozade on sale, so check the label before you buy. Your diabetes healthcare team can help you to adjust the amount of hypo treatment needed.”
June James, co-founder of diabetes nursing group TREND UK, said: “This is very concerning especially as we have heard that there will be both new and old stock on the shelves and, together with the low glucose versions, it all leads to plenty of opportunities for confusion. This is why this is so serious.
“We have been advising our members to make sure that their patients read the labels thoroughly and ensure that they have the right amount of carbohydrates needed to treat any hypos.”
The changes to Lucozade have been made in the wake of the obesity and type 2 epidemic as part of the “responsibility deal” the government has agreed with food manufacturers.
A Lucozade Ribena Suntory spokesperson said: “We are lowering the sugar content of all our drinks, including Lucozade Energy, Ribena and Orangina as part of an ambitious health and wellbeing plan to transform our drinks and business.
“The decision to halve the sugar in our drinks is in response to the growing demand from consumers who now want healthier drinks. LRS plan to replace these sugars with low calorie sweeteners.
“Diabetes organisations throughout the UK and Ireland plus NHS trusts in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Department of Health and HSE in Ireland have been informed of the changes. Further technical information is available to download from our website www.lrsuntory.com/health.
“We strongly recommend that consumers check the back of the pack to find out the nutritional information.”
Last year it was announced by the chancellor as part of the Budget that a new sugar tax on the soft drinks industry would be introduced in the UK. The move was hailed by campaigners as a significant step in the fight against child obesity.