Radical Rethink Needed on Free Sugars Intake, Say Experts


The experts from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine says that should make no more than 3% of total energy sugars intake in the diet. This will help to reduce the significant financial and the social burdens of tooth decay.

The study published in the open-access journal BMC Public Health and analyzed the effect of sugars on dental caries, also known as tooth decay. They show that sugars are the main cause of tooth decay in children and adults and all ages.

Effect of Sugars Intake

Free sugars are defined by the World Health Organisation(WHO) Nutrition Guidance Advisory Group as follows. Free sugars include monosaccharides and disaccharides adds to foods by the manufacturer. Cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit concentrates.

  • In modern days, tooth decay is the most common non-communicable disease in the world. And mostly affecting 60-90% of school-age children and the highest majority of adults. In the USA, adults 92% ages 20-64 have experienced decay in at least one of their permanent teeth due to sugars intake.
  • In industrialized countries, the treatment of dental diseases costs 5-10% of total health expenditure. To compare dental health and diet over time across large populations of adults and children then researchers used. From public health records from countries across the world.
  • The researchers found that the incidence of tooth decay was much higher in adults than children And increased histrionic with any sugar consumption above 0% of energy. Even in children can increase from near-zero sugar to 5% of energy doubles the prevalence of decay and continues to rise as sugar increases.

Reduction of Sugar Consumption

The current guidelines from the World Health Organisation(WHO) set a maximum of 10% of total energy intake from free sugars. These may equate to around 50g of free sugars per day as the maximum, with 25grams as the target. The latest research suggests that 5% of sugars intake should be the absolute maximum, with a target of less than 3%.

  • “Tooth decay is a serious problem in the world and reduction of sugar consumption makes a huge difference”. Says study author Aubrey Sheiham who is the Emeritus Professor of Dental Public Health (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health).
  • “Similarly, 2% of children and all ages living in Nigeria of tooth decay when their diet contained almost no sugar, around 2grams per day. This is in stark contrast to the USA whereas 92% of adults have experienced tooth decay.”
  • To address the issue of tooth decay, the authors recommend a series of radical policy changes for the reduction of sugar consumption.
  • “Our highest priority is not to allow the idea of a magic single bullet to solve the problem to be developed,” says co-author Professor Philip James. Honorary Professor of Nutrition at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and past President World Obesity Federation (formerly IASO).
  • “We need to make sure that the use of fruit juices and the sugar-containing treats for children. Not only no longer promoted but explicitly seen as unhelpful.
  • “Vending machines offer that confectionary and sugars intake drinks. And also in areas supported financially by the local or central government should be removed.” We are not talking draconian policies to ‘ban’ such sugar-rich products, but no publicly-supported. The establishment should be contributing to the expensive problems of dental caries, obesity, and diabetes, etc.

Treatment of Dental Diseases

“The food industry should be that they should reformulate their products. And to reduce or preferably remove the sugars from their products.” New food labels should label above 2.5% sugars as ‘high’.

  • “There is a huge issue about how to diminish the flow of sugars in the food chain and divert sugar. If produced at all, it should be converted into alcohol, as in Brazil, to be used as a fuel for vehicles.”
  • This production is always unnecessary as sugarcane producers of the lower-income countries produce sufficient. Similarly, of the US/EU trade agreement, the US should no longer be promoting the export of sugars intake and the US should diminish production.
  • “A sugars tax should develop to increase the cost of sugar-rich dishes and drinks. The retail price of sugary drinks and sugar-rich foods are needed to increase at least 20%. The reasonable effect on consumer demand so it means a major tax on sugars as a product. The level will mainly depend on expert analyses but I guess that a 100% tax might be required.”
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