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Cut sugar intake – WHO

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has released updated guidelines encouraging people to halve their daily sugar intake as a means of combating obesity and tooth decay.

The UN health agency said that sugar should contribute only five per cent of an individual’s daily energy intake, which is almost half their previously recommended daily amount.

The recommendation means that adults with a normal Body Mass Index should consume less than six teaspoons of sugar each day. This limit includes all sugar added to food and beverages as well as natural sugar found in things like honey, syrups, and fruit juices.

The WHO estimates that half a billion people are affected by obesity worldwide. At least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese.

The WHO’s Director of Nutrition for Health and Development Dr Francesco Branca said the recommendation is part of the global fight against obesity.

“It is definitely worsening. We calculate there’s half a billion people that are affected by obesity, and that is on the rise,” Dr Branca said.

“We see more and more kids, even from early ages such as before five years, getting more and more overweight and obese, even in low and middle-income countries.”

“Much of the sugars consumed today are hidden in processed foods that are usually not seen as sweets.”

The WHO warned that a single can of sugar-sweetened soda contains about 40 grams – or 10 teaspoons – of sugar.

The Public Health Association of Australia and the Obesity Policy Coalition have welcomed the recommendations.