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Halve your sugar intake, WHO advises

Western Daily Press (UK)


People should cut the amount of sugar in their diet by half if they want to improve their health, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. WHO guidelines say sugars should make up less than 10 per cent of total energy intake per day for adults and children.

For adults of a normal weight, this is the equivalent of around 50g - about 12 level teaspoons - of sugar.

In new draft guidelines, which are subject to consultation, the WHO maintains its original 10 per cent advice but it argues that cutting this intake to less than 5 per cent would bring "additional health benefits". It says the lower firgure is the "ideal" that people should aim for.

The guidelines follow several studies on the impact of sugar on obesity and dental cavities, including the role of "hidden" sugars in processed foods such as sweets, with sugary, fizzy drinks having about 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Dr Francesco Branca, director for nutrition for health and development at the WHO, told a news conference that the 10 per cent target was a "strong recommendation" while the 5 per cent target was "conditional", based on the evidence. Dr Branca said obesity affects half a billion people around the world and is on the rise among all age groups.

The news comes after England's chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, told MPs that a "sugar tax" may have to be introduced to curb child and adult obesity.

She said being overweight had become "normalised" in Britain and the Government should regulate the food and drinks industry to protect people against the dangers of excess calorie consumption.

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