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7 March 2014

Response to launch of WHO Draft Guidelines: Sugars intake for adults and children

Response to launch of WHO Draft Guidelines: Sugars intake for adults and children

We welcome the World Health Organisation’s* acknowledgement that “energy balance is critical to maintaining a healthy body weight”** and its continued recommendation that intake of sugars not exceed 10% of total energy. We are supportive of measures that help people better manage their overall calorie intake and diet.

We are concerned, however, that the WHO has suggested an ambition and conditional recommendation to reduce total daily energy intake of sugars to below 5%. While it acknowledges that there is uncertainty*** in support of this recommendation, and that substantial debate is needed, this proposal may mislead and confuse the public.

Sugar is just one source of calories, and reducing intake of it alone will not solve the obesity crisis, for which there is no quick fix. In fact, Government Family Food statistics show that there has actually been a reduction of almost 12%**** in total sugar consumption per capita in the UK over the past decade.

The overwhelming body of scientific evidence is that it is the over consumption of total calories across all food groups and our increasingly sedentary lifestyles that is driving obesity rates.

It is important therefore to help educate everyone on the importance of balancing energy (calories) in and energy (calories) out, and to provide accurate information based on facts and science so that the public can make considered decisions about sugar and what constitutes a healthy, balanced diet.

Richard Pike
Managing Director, British Sugar

Notes to editors:

* Prepared by the World Health Organisation’s Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group (Subgroup on Diet and Health)

** Draft Guideline: Sugars intake for adults and children, World Health Organisation (05/03/14) http://www.who.int/nutrition/sugars_public_consultation/en/

*** Guideline: Sugars intake for adults and children (05/03/14), Page 3, World Health Organisation 

**** Annual statistics about food and drink purchases in the UK (DEFRA) https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/family-food-statistics

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6 March 2014

Response to launch of WHO Draft Guidelines: Sugars intake for adults and children

Response to launch of WHO Draft Guidelines: Sugars intake for adults and children

We are currently reviewing the draft guideline on sugars intake published today by the World Health Organisation* and will be providing comment on the findings and draft recommendation in due course.

Over the past few months we have seen sugar singled out as a lead cause of obesity in the UK. There is no silver bullet to solving the obesity crisis which is the result of a complex range of factors. We welcome and are supportive of measures that help people better manage their calorie intake, diet and health.

The overwhelming body of scientific evidence, however, points to a cause of over-consumption of total calories and our increasingly sedentary lifestyles as the lead cause of obesity. This is causing an imbalance between energy (calories) in and energy (calories) out.

Government Family Food statistics here in the UK show that there has actually been a reduction of almost 12%** in total sugar consumption over the last decade. We believe the public would benefit from a better overall understanding of the food and drink they consume.

Notes to editors:

* Prepared by the World Health Organisation’s Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group (Subgroup on Diet and Health)

**Annual statistics about food and drink purchases in the UK (DEFRA) https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/family-food-statistics

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