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SUGAR DEBATE Half our sugar intake, says WHO

Under new guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO), people should  cut their sugar intake by half to just six teaspoons a day 

Draft guidance will be put out for the public stating that while the recommended levels of sugar will stay at below 10 per cent of total calorie intake, five per cent should be the target.

The suggested limits apply to all sugars added to food, including sugars naturally found in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates.


The recommendation that sugar should form no more than 10 per cent of our calorie intake was passed by the World Health Organisation more than a decade ago. It works out at about 50g a day for an average adult.

However, experts now believe that 10 per cent is too high in the midst of rising obesity levels around the world.

The Health Organisation said: ‘WHO’s current recommendation, from 2002, is that sugars should make up less than 10 per cent of total energy intake per day.

‘The new draft guideline also proposes that sugars should be less than 10 per cent of total energy intake per day.

‘It further suggests that a reduction to below 5% of total energy intake per day would have additional benefits.”

They commissioned a review of scientific evidence on damage to teeth from sugar and the effect of sugar on rising obesity levels.


The obesity study, published last year in the British Medical Journal, found that although sugar did not directly cause obesity, those who had a lot of it (particularly in sweet drinks) tended to put on weight as a result of eating more as sugary foods did not make them feel full.

The dental study, carried out by UK researchers, found that cases of tooth decay were lower when sugar made up less than 10 per cent of a person’s diet.

This week a leading UK doctor called for a tax on sugar to help combat growing levels of obesity.

Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, said: ‘We may need to move toward some kind of sugar tax, but I hope we don’t have to. We have normalised being overweight. I do fear this generation of children will live less than my parents’ generation.’


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