WHO cuts recommended sugar intake amount by half

06 March 2014

People would be advised to halve the amount of sugar in their diet, under new World Health Organization guidance.

The recommended sugar intake would stay at under 10 per cent of total calorie intake a day, with the target being 5 per cent according to the WHO.

The suggested limits would apply to all sugars added to food, and even the sugar present naturally in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates.

According to UK campaigners it was a "tragedy" that the WHO had taken 10 years to think about changing its advice.

The recommendation that sugar should account for not over 10 per cent of the calories in the diet, had been passed in 2002.

According to the WHO, it worked out at about 50g a day for an adult of normal weight.

According to a number of experts, 10 per cent was too high now, with increasing obesity levels around the world.

Announcing the new draft measures, the WHO said in a statement, "WHO's current recommendation, from 2002, is that sugars should make up less than 10 per cent of total energy intake per day.

The health agency of the United Nations, while issuing the new draft sugar guidelines said its recommendations were based on "the totality of evidence regarding the relationship between free sugars intake and body weight and dental caries".

The term ''free sugars'' includes monosaccharides and disaccharides, added to foods by manufacturers, cooks or consumers, as also sugars present naturally in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates.

"WHO recommends reduced intake of free sugars throughout the life-course," the agency said in a statement.

"There is increasing concern that consumption of free sugars - particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages - increases overall energy intake and may reduce the intake of foods containing more nutritionally adequate calories," the WHO statement said.

Free sugars consumption could lead "to an unhealthy diet, weight gain and increased risk of non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer)."

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