The World Health Organisation advises halving the amount of sugar that people consume daily, after Britain’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies said a sugar tax may be needed to curb obesity rates.
The daily allowance for a person’s sugar intake should be halved to six teaspoons, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.
Draft guidance published by the international body advises a dramatic reduction in sugar consumption to help avoid mounting health problems including obesity and tooth decay.
The WHO is proposing to retain its current formal recommendation that no more than 10 per cent of an individual’s calories should come from sugar – the equivalent of 12 “level” teaspoons a day for the average adult.
However, its draft guidelines state that a further reduction to 5 per cent “would have additional benefits”. The lower limit amounts to around six teaspoons – less than the levels of sugar in a 50g Mars Bar.
The move comes amid growing evidence that sugar contributes to a range of chronic diseases. It follows calls by scientists for the recommendation to be halved.
The WHO’s announcement comes after a study by the University of Southern California found that eating too much protein could be as dangerous as smoking for middle–aged people.
Separately a leading heart scientist has warned that NHS guidelines advising people to cut down on high–fat foods may be putting the public at risk. Dr James DiNicolantonio warns that more focus is needed on the “harms” of consuming high levels of carbohydrates and sugar.
The WHO limits apply to all “free” sugar, which is sugar that is added to foods by the manufacturer, plus that naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices.
The announcement came after Dame Sally Davies, Britain’s chief medical officer, suggested a sugar tax to curb obesity rates.