Further calls have been made to take action over the UK’s increasing sugar consumption.
Action on Sugar called for greater efforts following publication of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Guideline on Sugars Intake for Adults and Children. The report recommends a maximum of 10 per cent of people’s daily energy can come from free sugars and ideally no more than five per cent to achieve the biggest health benefits (around six teaspoons for women and eight for men per day).
Action on Sugar says it is disappointed that the five per cent recommendation is ‘conditional’ and says the WHO has failed to come up with the strong recommendations that is so vitally needed, especially for children.
Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of Action on Sugar, Queen Mary University of London, commented: “We have known about the health risks of sugar for years and yet no effective action has been taken – the World Health Organization has indicated that we should drastically lower our sugar intake, it is time for the UK Government, and governments around the world, to take action now.”
Katharine Jenner, Campaign Director of Action on Sugar and Registered Nutritionist, added: “These recommendations are all well and good, but until manufacturers stop hiding sugar in our foods in such vast quantities how can we be expected to lower our intake? The recommendations need to be translated into something meaningful for the consumer. Sugars are hidden in so many of our everyday foods; we eat and drink more than our maximum recommendation without even realising it.”
Dr Aseem Malhotra,
Cardiologist and Action on Sugar Advisor, went on: “The WHO recommendations are very welcome but without specific Government action, the British public will not benefit. The WHO recommend a limit of six teaspoons of sugar per day for the average woman, but nutritional labelling suggests we could be consuming up to 22 teaspoons of sugar as a guideline daily amount. The fact that current nutritional advice is actually driving the twin epidemics of type 2 diabetes and obesity is an absolute scandal and the government must act to rectify this immediately.”