Sugars can be added to food and drinks or occur naturally in fruit, vegetables and milk. A high sugar diet increases the risk of tooth decay and weight gain, and high consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is associated with type 2 diabetes. This paper describes trends in sugar consumption in the UK, the public health implications and outlines policy options.Jump to full report >>
Sugar consumption, and its links to a range of health conditions have made it a long-standing focus for policymakers in the UK and internationally. The World Health Organisation recently published a guideline on population level consumption limts, to enable countries to translate their recommendations into national dietary guidelines. In the UK, a government committee advising the Department of Health is undertaking a similar exercise; its report on carbohydrates and health is expected later in 2015. In a draft report released in 2014, the committee suggested that it is considering revising down the daily average recommended sugar intake from the current 10% of daily energy intake to 5%, which is equivalent to about six teaspoons of sugar (96 calories).
Key points in this POSTnote include:
There is concern about the negative impact of this level of consumption on public health, notably tooth decay, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Government policy to improve diet and health includes voluntary industry pledges to reduce calories in products (including lowering sugar content), provide better labelling, supported by education campaigns to help people to make healthier choices.
Authors: Sarah Bunn; Daniel McDowell
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