There’s so many different sources of health information out there however the World Health Organisation is one of the most reliable. Today they released their guidelines on sugar intake for adults and children worldwide and it includes a further reduction to what was previously instructed.
The new guideline recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10 per cent of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5 per cent or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.
Free sugars refer to monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose or table sugar) added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
“We have solid evidence that keeping intake of free sugars to less than 10 per cent of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity and tooth decay,” says Dr Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development. “Making policy changes to support this will be key if countries are to live up to their commitments to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases”.
The WHO guideline does not refer to the sugars in fresh fruits and vegetables, and sugars naturally present in milk, because there is no reported evidence of adverse effects of consuming these sugars.
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Worldwide intake of free sugars varies by age, setting and country. In Europe, intake in adults ranges from about 7-8 per cent of total energy intake in countries like Hungary and Norway, to 16-17 per cent in countries like Spain and the United Kingdom. Intake is much higher among children, ranging from about 12 per cent in countries like Denmark, Slovenia and Sweden, to nearly 25 per cent in Portugal. There are also rural/urban differences. In rural communities in South Africa intake is 7.5 per cent, while in the urban population it is 10.3 per cent.
The recommendations are based on analysis of the latest scientific evidence. This evidence shows, first, that adults who consume less sugars have lower body weight and, second, that increasing the amount of sugars in the diet is associated with a weight increase. In addition, research shows that children with the highest intakes of sugar-sweetened drinks are more likely to be overweight or obese than children with a low intake of sugar-sweetened drinks.
So, how do you feel about these changes? Do you eat too much sugar now? Share your thoughts in the comments below…