The sugar industry has hit back at the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) sugar recommendations - calling a review on the scientific evidence behind the guidelines.

The recommendations, made earlier this week, suggest that intake of sugars should be less than 10% of total energy from free sugars.

Julian Cooper, head of food science at AB Sugar, said: “We have the greatest respect for the WHO’s commitment to science and evidence-based policy-making and its leadership on global health matters. However, we are surprised to learn from today’s announcement that the draft recommendations (issued in March 2014) - less than 10% recommendation and 5% (conditional) recommendation - have been upheld. 

“We welcome the opportunity to review and understand in more detail the scientific evidence used to develop these new guidelines. It appears for both recommendations ‘moderate’ and ‘very low quality’ evidence has been used in the process respectively - as referenced in WHO’s ‘Guideline: Sugars intake for adults and children’.

“It’s important to note that sugars are not ‘hidden’ in food and beverages in the UK. There are clear European food laws which ensure all ‘total sugars’ are labelled within the nutritional information to help inform and educate consumers of what is contained within their foods and drinks.”

The guidelines have also been knocked by campaign group Action on Sugar, which said the fact that a reduction of sugar to below 5% of total energy intake per day was only a ‘conditional’ suggestion- was “disappointing”.