Cut sugar intake by half, says SACN report

ACCORDING TO a new draft report by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) the public need to halve their daily intake of sugar to help prevent the obesity crisis from getting worse.

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The SACN provide scientific advice for the government in England and have proposed that the UK population should get no more than 5% of its daily energy intake from sugar which is either added to food, or naturally present in fruit juice. This is equal to five teaspoons a day for women and up to eight for men – just one 330ml can of fizzy pop would take an adult up to the proposed daily allowance. Current levels stand at 10% but many already fail to meet this.


The scientific body reviewed 600 different scientific studies on carbohydrates, including sugar, to develop the recommendations on health and following the new recommendations Public Heath England (PHE) is now calling on businesses, retailers, consumers and more to work together to reduce the amount of sugar the UK eat as a nation.


Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “Eating too much sugar is harming our health; excess sugar and calorie intake leads to being overweight and obese and consequently having a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and breast and colon cancer. Currently a third of our 10 and 11 year olds are overweight or obese with the majority coming from the most deprived communities which is unacceptable.”


A report by Public Health England entitled ‘Sugar reduction: Responding to the challenge’ outlines the ways that the issue will be tackled including reforms to their previous ‘5-a-day’ campaign and suggestions that the Government should consider a variety of measures to reduce the public’s sugar consumption such as better labelling and restrictions on advertising and promotions.


Barbara Gallani, Director of Regulation, Science and Health at the Food and Drink Federation, added: “Britain’s food and drink manufacturers want to continue to play a part in helping consumers reduce their calorie intake and be more active and have committed to reducing calories in their products under the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal. In some cases this has included a reduction in sugar as part of the wider calorie reduction plan. FDF would support constructive discussions and further collaborative work based on robust evidence.”

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said: “We know eating too much sugar can have a significant impact on health, and this draft advice confirms that.


“We want to help people make healthier choices and get the nation into healthy habits for life. This report will inform the important debate taking place about sugar.


“I’m pleased that Public Health England have today committed to introducing a focused national campaign to help us all get into those healthier habits, as well as issuing revised guidance on sugary drinks. They have also committed to give further advice to Government, when the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition’s (SACN) report is finalised, about how we can best reduce sugar intakes.”


The reports follow on from advice given on Wednesday from Susan Jebb, chairman of the Government’s responsibility deal with the food and drinks industry, who said that parents should ban fizzy drinks and juices at mealtimes and serve water instead in order to help reduce their children’s sugar intake.


To read the full draft report compiled by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition click here.