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New WHO guideline clamps down on intake of free sugars


April 7, 2015
by Medical News Today

Adults and children should reduce their daily free sugar intake to less than 10% of their total energy intake, according to a new
guideline from the World Health Organization.


Glucose, fructose, sucrose and table sugar are all examples of free sugars. These sugars are found naturally in honey, syrups and fruit juices, but can also be added to food and drink by manufacturers. "We have solid evidence that keeping intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity and tooth decay," says Dr. Francesco Branca.

The World Health Organization (WHO) explain that much of the sugar consumed these days is concealed within processed foods that are not necessarily perceived as “sweets.” WHO provide the example of 1 tablespoon of ketchup containing around 4 g of free sugars, while a can of soda contains up to 40 g of free sugars.

WHO also find that free sugar intake varies across global regions. For example, while free sugar intake accounts for about 7-8% of total energy intake in Hungary and Norway, it accounts for nearly 25% of total energy intake in Portugal.

Also, within countries, free sugar intake varies between urban and rural populations. In South Africa, the WHO report notes, free sugar intake accounts for 7.5% of total energy intake among rural communities, but is higher within the urban population at 10.3%.

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