UN sticks to advice to limit sugar intake

April 23, 2003 in Nutrition Topics in the News

UN sticks to advice to limit sugar intake

The World Health Organization says it stands by scientific findings advising consumers to limit sugar intake, shrugging off pressure from sugar and soft drinks industry lobbyists to ease off.

The Geneva-based WHO said this week it received letters from U.S. and European associations representing the industry hotly contesting research recommending that consumers limit sugar to 10 percent of all food and drinks consumed in a day.

The WHO believes that the findings represent the best available science in the world.

To help tackle global health problems including obesity and diabetes, United Nations agencies WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on launched today a joint report on nutrition compiled by some 30 independent experts.

The report has been published on the web for some weeks and it will remain there. ftp://ftp.fao.org/es/esn/nutrition/diet_prevention_disease.pdf.

The report recommends limiting sugar to 10 percent of overall dietary intake, running counter to the sugar industry's backing of 25 percent as a sugar consumption limit. The industry backs a 2002 report by the Institute of Medicine, part of the U.S. Academy of Science, which suggested a dietary limit of 25 percent of added sugars. But that report did not lay down a specific sugar limit for achieving a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Groups that have lobbied the WHO include the American Association of Sugar Producers, the U.K.-based World Sugar Research Organization and the Brussels-based European Committee of Sugar Manufacturers.

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