“Ban all drinks but water from dinner table, parents told,” is the The Daily Telegraph's front page headline. Obviously, the government is unlikely to directly intervene in our diets in such a draconian way. In fact…
"Ban all drinks but water from dinner table, parents told," is the The Daily Telegraph's front page headline.
Obviously, the government is unlikely to directly intervene in our diets in such a draconian way. In fact, the news in many of the papers has highlighted new advice and recommendations designed to reduce the nation’s sugar consumption.
The recommendations come in two separate reports. The first is a draft report on the effect of carbohydrates on health (PDF, 4.4Mb) and has been produced by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). SACN is an independent advisory group that provides advice to the government and as such, its draft advice is not currently national policy.
The second is a report by Public Health England, outlining proposed steps to cut people's sugar consumption in England (PDF, 893kb).
According to Public Health England (PHE), we are eating too much sugar. Current recommendations are that sugar should account for no more than 10% of energy intake a day (and some say that to tackle the obesity epidemic, this should be lowered to 5%). The evidence suggests that all age groups in England are eating more than this.
Children and young people aged between four and 18 years eat the most sugar as it accounts for around 14-15% of their daily energy intake, PHE says.
The main sources of sugar for young children are soft drinks and fruit juices. For teenagers it is soft drinks and energy drinks. Adults have a wider range of sources including:
There appears to be an association with sugar intake and obesity levels in England, PHE has found. In 2012, two-thirds of adults were overweight or obese and one in three children aged 10-11 were overweight or obese.
The SACN report makes a wide range of recommendations about carbohydrates more generally. In the context of today's headlines focused on sugar consumption, the main recommendations are:
In light of these recommendations, PHE is to launch a national campaign on to encourage sugar reduction in both individuals and families.
Read more about sugar swaps from Change4Life.
The consultation period regarding the evidence provided in the SACN report will last until September 1 2014.
SACN is taking comments on scientific aspects of the report from stakeholders such as academics, NGOs, charities and industry representatives. The consultation response document can be found on the SACN website. SACN intends to publish its final report in March 2015.
Edited by NHS Choices