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Cut your sugar intake

6 teaspoons per day: WHO guidelines on sugar intake

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Why the World Health Organization is urging you to cut your sugar intake.

The push to quit all things sugar has been gaining momentum over the past few years.

And with the release of its guidelines, the World Health Organization (WHO) has joined the ranks in the war against sugar.

How much sugar should we be eating?

The guidelines recommend that adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake.

They also recommend that if we reduce our sugar intake even further to less than 5%, roughly 25 g or 6 teaspoons per day, this would provide additional health benefits.

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What are ‘free’ sugars?

Free sugars are simple sugars (glucose, fructose, and sucrose) added to foods- manufactured foods, in cooking, the teaspoon of sugar you add to your morning coffee- and sugar naturally occurring in honey and fruit juice.

The WHO guideline does not refer to the sugars in fresh fruits and vegetables, and sugars naturally present in milk, because there is no reported evidence of adverse effects of consuming these sugars.

“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.”

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How much sugar are you eating?

While many foods and drinks are obvious culprits for a high sugar content, it can be difficult to know how much sugar you’re eating as it’s often “hidden” in foods (usually processed) that you wouldn’t consider sweet.

It’s this theme of hidden sugars, and the content of sugar in perceived healthy foods that have inspired the journey of Damon Gameau to investigate the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body.

That Sugar Film

In That Sugar Film, Gameau eats only foods that are thought to be ‘healthy’, and explores where sugar is lurking on our supermarket shelves.

Why you need to reduce your sugar

A higher intake of sugar is associated with:

Source: WHO calls on countries to reduce sugars intake among adults and children

How will you reduce your sugar intake? Tell us the first thing to go from your diet in the comments below.