SGS Provides Updates on World Health Organization's Draft Guidelines on Free Sugars Intake
On 05 March 2014 the World Health Organization (WHO) published their draft guidelines on free sugars intake. Free sugars include mono and disaccharides added to food and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. Recommendations were provided on the consumption of free sugars to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases in adults and children. They requested public comment until 31 March 2014.
WHO had three main recommendations;
1. Reduce intake of free sugars throughout lifetime
2. Intake of free sugars not to exceed 10% of total energy/calories
3. Further reduction of free sugars below 5% of total energy/calories is recommended (about 25g (about 6 teaspoons) of sugar per day for an adult)
Free Sugars and Non-Communicable Diseases
The primary non-communicable diseases associated with excess sugar intake are dental caries and obesity related diseases such as diabetes or heart disease. The average US adult eats about 135 pounds of sugar a year or 22 teaspoons a day, getting about 15% of their daily calories from sugar (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/diet.htm).
Studies (http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.e7492) have been performed that when people reduce their intake of free sugars even without reducing the amount of food, they will lose overall body weight while increase in sugars resulted in an increase of body weight even without increasing the amount of food in the diet. This indicates that an increase in body weight is possibly associated with free sugars intake.
In other studies on dental caries and free sugars (http://jdr.sagepub.com/content/93/1/8), 42 out of 50 studies reviewed reported an association with free sugars and the development of dental caries.
International Dietary Guidelines
These guidelines are really not different than the guidelines published in various countries. For example the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend to limit the intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol. The Dietary Guidelines (https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/n55) for Americans (http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2010.asp) recommend reducing calories from solid fats and added sugars. Similar recommends can be found in the United Kingdom (http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/sugars.aspx).
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