The World Health Organization’s sugar guidelines have been officially released. The guidelines do not include the sugars contained in fresh fruits and vegetables, or sugars naturally present in milk. Much of the sugar consumed today is “hidden” in processed foods, including ketchup and salad dressing.


“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, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development. “Making policy changes to support this will be key if countries are to live up to their commitments to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases.”


The WHO offered special cautions to developing nations about sugar consumption, noting that:


“In recent years, the rate of increase of childhood overweight and obesity in developing countries with emerging economies has been more than 30% higher than that in developed countries. In 2013, it was estimated that 42 million children under the age of 5 in the world were overweight or obese and about 35 million of them were living in the developing countries.”


Marion Nestle offers a good take on the politics of the announcement in her Food Politics blog. If you’re interested in learning more about sugar consumption and its impact on human health, you may wish to visit SugarScience, a website collaboratively managed by faculty and researchers from UC San Francisco, UC Davis and Emory University. SugarScience is a definitive source of evidence-based, scientific information about sugar and its impact on health.


Related Links:


Seven foods with added sugar

Added sugars in processed foods: have we reached a tipping point?

Sugar and fat consumption by nation