New guidelines recommend reduction of sugar intake

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WHO says a further reduction to below 5% or roughly 6 teaspoons of sugar per day would provide additional health benefits. Photo: WHO/C. Black

A new guideline from the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends people reduce their daily intake of sugar to less than 10 per cent of their total energy intake.

The agency says a further reduction to below 5 per cent, which is roughly 25 grams or 6 teaspoons per day, would provide additional health benefits.

According to WHO, limiting oneself to this quantity reduces the risk of being overweight, obese and suffering from tooth decay.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

Glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.

On Wednesday, WHO announced new guidelines for the intake of these sugars, called "free sugars", to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Most of the free sugars consumed today are described by the UN health agency as "hidden" in processed foods that are not usually seen as sweet.

For example, 1 tablespoon of ketchup contains around 4 grams, or around 1 teaspoon, of free sugars.

A single can of sugar-sweetened soda contains up to 40 grams, or around 10 teaspoons, of free sugars.

Meanwhile, the guideline is to consume, if possible, no more than 6 teaspoons per day, or 5 per cent of one's total daily energy intake.

But WHO insists that free sugars should represent no more than 10 per cent of one's daily energy intake to fend away the risks associated with abnormal or excessive fat accumulation.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’10″

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