The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has advised the government to radically reduce intake of free sugars in the population’s diet, while upping fibre consumption. 

The SACN today made a final judgement on sugar, fibre and wholegrains as part of its Carbohydrates and Health report.

It now recommends that the average intake of free sugars should account for no more than 5% of daily dietary energy intake - posing major implications on the food and drink industry. This means that adults consuming more than seven cubes of sugar a day will be exceeding recommended limits.

Despite this, it reinforced that starchy carbohydrates and wholegrain should form 50% of daily calorie intake, while increasing recommendations for the intake of fibre.

The report said that those aged 16 and over should increase their intake of fibre to 30g a day, 25g for 11 to 15-year-olds, 20g for 5 to 11-year-olds and 15g for 2 to 5-year olds.

This decision has been welcomed by the baking industry, as bread is recognised as a good source of fibre.

The report concluded:

  • High levels of sugar consumption are associated with a greater risk of tooth decay.
  • The higher the proportion of sugars in the diet, the greater the risk of high energy intake.
  • Drinking high-sugar beverages results in weight gain and increases in BMI in teenagers and children.
  • Consuming too many high-sugar beverages increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

It states: "The evidence considered in this report endorses a dietary pattern concerning carbohydrates that is based on a variety of food sources but limiting the amounts consumed of table sugar and rich sources of free sugars, such as preserves and sweet spreads, fruit juice, confectionery, biscuits, buns and cakes. The report also provides evidence that sugars-sweetened beverages should be consumed in minimal (i.e. infrequently and in small) amounts."

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See the full report here.