12 January - 20 June 2016

WHO says what about sugar?

12 Mar 14

It has been widely reported that the World Health Organisation recently slashed its recommendation for daily sugar consumption by half. But what does that mean, exactly?

No official update has yet been made to the WHO's official guidelines - which since 2002 have recommended that sugar make up less than 10% of total energy intake per day. That is approximately 50g per day for an adult of normal body mass index (BMI), but is of course subject to as much variation as is BMI.

As part of the standard WHO procedures for updating guidelines, a draft guideline has been drawn up, informed by analysis of all relevant literature on sugar consumption and its impact on excess weight gain and tooth decay. This draft guideline is now open for comment and public consultation here, with expert peer review also taking place.

The draft guideline retains the previous advice about keeping sugar consumption below 10% daily total energy intake, but adds that an additional decrease to under 5% would come with additional health benefits. This is based on the findings in a WHO-commissioned review paper that there is moderate quality evidence connecting lower dental caries rates with less than 10% of daily energy intake being sugar, and a significant relationship - though with low-quality evidence - between further reduction to under 5% of intake and further lowered caries rates. It is perhaps also worth noting that the sugar referred to in the guideline comprises so-called "free sugars," - that is, mono- and disaccharides that are added to products, plus the naturally-occurring sugars found in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates.

Comment on and peer review of the draft guideline will continue until 31st March, and after the necessary review and revision it will be cleared by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee before being finalised.

share this article
RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

Previous editions

Load more editions

Make an Enquiry