Diabetes UK backs sugar calls
Diabetes UK has backed government recommendations to slash sugar consumption and said everyone needs to “eat less sugar and drink fewer sugary drinks”.
Adults and children over 11 years old should consume no more than 30g of sugar a day – less than a single can of Coca Cola – according to long-awaited and final recommendations from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) announced on Friday (July 17).
Its final report on Carbohydrates and Health, published last week, recommended a significant cut to the amount of sugars people consume as part of their daily calorie intake – halved from 10 per cent to five per cent. The report also recommends that consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is minimised and fibre increased.
Louise Ansari, Director of Prevention of Type 2 diabetes at Diabetes UK: “We strongly support these recommendations to halve the guideline on sugar consumption to just five per cent of energy intake, as high consumption of sugary foods and drinks is helping to fuel the rise of obesity and in turn the rising tide of type 2 diabetes, a serious health condition that can lead to amputations, blindness and stroke.
“As the report highlights, the evidence that sugar directly causes type 2 diabetes is inconclusive, but sugary foods and drinks are high in calories and consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain, which significantly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is why we advise people to follow a healthy balanced diet that is low in salt and saturated fat, as well as sugar, coupled with regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight and prevent type 2 diabetes.
“Almost all of us need to eat less sugar and drink fewer sugary drinks, which is why we support the new dietary recommendation to limit sugar intake to 5 percent of total daily energy intake but we believe that its essential to couple this new advice with support that enables people to actually reduce their sugar intake.
“We need a concerted effort led by the government to take active steps to help people reduce their calorie intake. This should include restrictions on marketing junk foods to children, legislation to take out fats and sugars in food and reduce portion sizes to cut overall calorie intake, greater investment to make it easier for people to be more active and if necessary taxation to make unhealthy foods less appealing.
“The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, which we are working on with NHS England and Public Health England is a fantastic first step, but more needs to be done to help people lead healthy lifestyles from the beginning to the ends of their lives. Until this happens we will continue to see rising levels of debilitating complications, avoidable deaths and unsustainable costs to the NHS.”