The World Health Organization has been advocating dietary changes as a means of preventing/ risk reduction for Non-Communicable Diseases for some time now.
The latest guidelines are specific to the intake of sugars in one’s diet, and are based on available epidemiological evidence.
The specific research questions guiding the systematic reviews undertaken were:
• What is the effect of a decrease or increase in free sugars intake in adults and children?
• What is the effect of restricting intake of free sugars to below 10% of total energy?
Intrinsic sugars: Those sugars that are naturally present in foodstuffs like fruits and vegetables.
Free sugars: These include monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods and beverages by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
Key findings based on available evidence:
1. No adverse health effects have been reported from consumption of intrinsic sugars. Therefore, the present guidelines do not apply to the consumption of intrinsic sugars.
2. The consumption of free sugars is associated with many adverse health effects. The present guidelines apply to the consumption of free sugars only.
3. Adults who consume less free sugars have lower body weight.
4. Increasing the amount of free sugars in the diet is associated with a comparable increase in weight.
5. Children with the highest intake of sugar sweetened drinks are about 1.5 times more likely to be overweight/ obese than children with a low intake of sugar-sweetened drinks.
6. There is a positive association between free sugar intake and development of dental caries across all ages (<5 years to >65 years).
7. Dental caries development is dependent upon cumulative free sugar intake. Therefore, high free sugar intake may result in dental caries in adulthood even if the individual did not have dental caries in childhood.
8. No adverse health effects were detected when individuals consumed <5% of total energy in the form of free sugars.
A. Strong Recommendation:
Reduce intake of free sugars to <10% of total energy intake.
B. Conditional Recommendation:
Further reduce intake of free sugars to <5% of total energy intake.
Free sugars are called by 57 names (if not more). One must actively look for the presence of one or more of these names in the food labels, and calculate the amount of free sugars present therein.
The 57 names of sugar (as mentioned on http://www.prevention.com):
Agave nectar Barley Malt Beet sugar Blackstrap Molasses Brown Rice syrup Brown Sugar Buttered Sugar Cane juice crystals Cane juice Cane sugar Caramel Carob Syrup Caster sugar Coconut sugar Corn sweetener Corn syrup Corn syrup solids Crystalline fructose Date sugar Demara sugar Dextran Diastatic Malt Diatase Ethyl Maltol Evaporated cane juice Fructose Galactose Fruit juice concentrates Glucose Golden sugar Golden syrup High fructose corn syrup Honey Invert sugar Lactose Malt syrup Maltodextrin Maltose Maple syrup Molasses syrup Muscovado sugar Organic raw sugar Oat syrup Panela Panocha Confectioner’s sugar Rice bran syrup Rice syrup Sorghum Sorghum syrup Sucrose Sugar Syrup Treacle Tapioca syrup Turbinado sugar Yellow sugar
Link to the WHO press release:
Link to the related WHO information note:
Link to the Guideline Sugars intake for adults and children:
Link to the above mentioned article on prevention.com: