A pressure group is calling on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to make a strong recommendation to governments globally to reduce the daily energy intake of sugar to below 5%.
The chairman of Action on Sugar, Professor Graham MacGregor; "Added sugar is completely unnecessary part of our diets, contributing to obesity, type II diabetes and tooth decay. We strongly urge the WHO to recommend reducing sugar intakes to below 5% daily calories, as this will have the biggest impact on our health.
"We have known about the health risks of sugar for years and yet nothing substantial has been done - new recommendations will be a wakeup call to the Department of Health and the Government to take action on sugar now by forcing the industry to slowly reduce the huge amount of sugar added by the food industry across the board. Setting targets for sugar reduction will not rely on the industry determined Responsibility Deal Calorie Pledge which has had no measurable effect on calorie intake. Unless they act now, obesity and diabetes are going to completely overwhelm the NHS."
Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Liverpool, UK, Simon Capewell says, "WHO recommendation to reduce sugar intake to 5% of energy are long overdue. A 5% target would reflects extensive scientific evidence linking excess sugars with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and common cancers (and rotten teeth in kids).
"Brits currently consume about three times too much sugar, 15% not 5%.This is because of the huge amounts of added sugars hidden in most processed foods: soups, yoghurts, ready meals, sugary drinks, fruit juices & smoothies.
"The UK Government and the industry have a clear duty to slash the sugars hidden in these foods, to protect our kids. And now the government's own Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, has recommended a tax on sugary drinks. This is evidence based; taxes are working in the USA, France, Hungary and Finland. It is high time our kids were also protected. "
Cardiologist and Science Director of Action on Sugar, Dr Aseem Malhotra says, "I fully welcome the calls for the WHO to recommend intakes to be reduced to 5%, but this needs to be translated into something meaningful.In particular, consumers need to know how much sugar is being added to processed foods; which currently isn't the case.
"The current UK guidelines suggest you can consume up to 22.5g sugar daily, even though there is no requirement for added sugar in the diet. The public deserves to know how much sugar is being added to foods, and the government has a duty to protect children from the manipulations and excess of the food industry."
Campaign Director and Nutritionist of Action on Sugar, Katharine Jenner says, "It is a tragedy that it has taken 10 years for the WHO to think about changing their recommendation on sugar, which will have had astronomic implications on the millions affected by obesity and type II diabetes the world over. Chronic diseases have overtaken infection diseases as the biggest causes of death worldwide, the majority of which is attributed to poor diets. Let's not drag our heels any longer."