According to recommendations from the World Health Organization the average male should consume no more than six teaspoons of sugar each day. The organization says that the sugar ingested, should be limited to five percent of the daily caloric intake. Realistically, the goal should be 10 percent, but five percent would be ideal said Dr. Francesco Branca, the director of the Geneva-based WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, who further recommends that dose should be reduced to 15 mils for children.
Nutrition experts continue to issue warnings that consumption of excess amounts of sugar which has been classified as being toxic, is responsible for contributing to conditions such as diabetes, and obesity.
The guidelines were issued almost 10 years ago, but have been recently revised, with the recommendations now demonstrating additional benefits.
WHO officials said the guidelines to reduce the consumption of sugar by 50 percent, were reached after conducting reviews of several studies the examined the link between the consumption of sugar and health related conditions, such as tooth decay and excess weight. The organization notes that there is a positive correlation, between the increase in occurrences of obesity, tooth cavities, and high consumption of sugar. The high amount of sugar that is included in processed foods may also make it more difficult to lower sugar consumption, and the WHO insinuates that a change in dietary habits may be necessary. A tablespoon of ketchup, contains a teaspoon of sugar, which is already 17 percent of the daily recommended intake . An adult who consumes a can of soda, exceeds the recommended daily level, as there are already 8 teaspoons of sugar in each can.
Excess sugar consumption has not only been linked to conditions such as obesity, but research has shown that excess sugar consumption increases the risks of mortality from cardiovascular diseases. The World Health Organization intends to present evidence to entities who are responsible for developing polices that can be adopted around the globe.
In a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers analyzed health surveys and diets of more than 30,000 people, and found that the risk of contracting fatal cardiovascular disease was increased when the sugar consumption exceeded the caloric requirement by only 15 percent. The transformation is not expected to be an easy one as much of the sugar is hidden. Some very fierce lobbying and heated debates are expected, as sugar in various forms and names, such as sucrose, honey, anhydrous dextrose are found in a wide variety of packaged and processed foods such as cereals, baked goods, sauces ,soft drinks and condiments.
The recommendations issued by the WHO, to reduce sugar consumption by 50 percent, are yet to be finalized, and are expected to generate some disapproval from the food industry. The size of the global sugar market is estimated to be close to $90 billion, and with any reduction, there will be some heavy costs involved in reformulation of packaged foods in order to retain consumers who attempt to follow the guidelines.
By Dale Davidson