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New UK SACN sugar report calls for 50% reduction in added sugars - but soft drinks giant Pepsi-co leads 'new' 25 year food strategy???‏

New UK SACN sugar report calls for 50% reduction in added sugars – but soft drinks giant Pepsi-co leads ‘new’ 25 year food strategy???‏

In an email today from Professor Tim Lang – head of the Food Policy department at City University London, he wrote about the release of the UK’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN)  sugar reportwhich called for a 50% reduction in added sugar, but questioned which way the UK Government would proceed. In the past, government’s received many warnings and science based evidence…

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Sugar, Fat and the Media…

In recent months, there has been a spate of pieces about the great sugar versus fat debate: which is the bigger killer?

I find these articles frustrating, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the reported ‘U-turns’ in evidence dilute public confidence in science, nutrition, and anyone who works in the sector. It gives the impression that we are constantly changing our minds, contradicting ourselves from one month to the next. This is simply not the case, but as ever, the media feel the need to present any new evidence in this manner.

Secondly, I don’t understand why the debate must always be dumbed down and sensationalised! It is misleading to think that the enemy has to be either fat or sugar, not both. Fat is hugely calorific (approximately 9 kcals per gram), and therefore if not eaten in moderation, will easily contribute to a positive energy balance (calories eaten > calories burned off) and thus obesity. This does not even delve into the complex links between different types of fat and cardiovascular disease.

Sugar only provides 4 kcals per gram, but can be easily consumed in excess. This makes it a massive risk factor for obesity, as well as other major public health issues such as diabetes. 

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has recently released a draft report with a major focus on sugar and health:

Some of the key points:

  • Sugar, either added to food or present naturally in products such as fruit juice or honey, should contribute no more than 5% of total energy intake
  • The highlighted links between sugar intake and obesity and type 2 diabetes
  • All age groups currently consume sugar in far greater proportions than either new or previously recommended levels (maximum 10% energy intake)

As ever, reports such as this will attract plenty of media attention, and rightly so. However, as the sugar industry have stated, ‘demonising one ingredient’ doesn’t solve the obesity epidemic, nor is it helpful in educating the general public. 

The report will hopefully help to remind us all of the dangers of a high sugar diet, but let’s not make the mistake of focussing on just one dietary issue. Both fat and sugar contribute to obesity, both are linked to a number of chronic health conditions, and both need to be consumed in moderation. As ever, balance is the key here - both from the media in light of new scientific evidence, and from consumers in their approach to their diets. 

Tom Hollis, RD

Consultant Dietitian, Supplicity

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Art-Net Controller 1.81 APK

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“My dear Miss Tammi,” said Tamica, “have you heard that SACN went up to 168.69?”

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Sugar should be no more than 5% of daily calories, say nutrition experts

Haroon Siddique, The Guardian, 17 July 2015

Dietary sugar should account for no more than 5% of daily calories consumed, half the previous recommended limit, the UK’s official nutrition advisers have said.

The guidance, which reflects concerns about growing prevalence of obesity and tooth decay, is accompanied by a specific warning that consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, including squash and fizzy beverages, should be minimised.

Under the advice, published by the scientific advisory committee on nutrition (SACN) on Friday, a can of fizzy drink would use up–and in many cases exceed–an adult’s daily sugar limit. Sweet drinks are the highest contributors of sugars to the diet of four- to 10-year-olds, according to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey.

Health professionals and campaigners welcomed the guidance but said government intervention would be necessary, given that the existing guideline on sugar not accounting for more than 10% of calories is already being breached. The average adult gets around 12% of their daily energy from sugar and the average teenager more than 15%.

Simon Capewell, professor of clinical epidemiology at Liverpool University and Action on Sugar adviser said: “British children and parents are currently drowning in a world full of sugary drinks, cheap junk food and aggressive marketing. But in some other countries, regulations and duties have successfully reduced sugar intake. Can the UK government now show that they are also genuinely committed to promoting our children’s health, rather than supporting industry profits?”

The Royal Society for Public Health and the British Dental Association (BDA) also called for government intervention. BDA chair Mick Armstrong said the government now had “a clear duty to send the strongest possible signal to the food industry, that while added sugar might be helping their sales, it is hurting their customers”.

The Department of Health said that it accepted SACN’s recommendations, which will feed into its forthcoming national strategy on childhood obesity. It is not considering a sugar tax.

It found high levels of sugar consumption were associated with tooth decay and the higher the proportion of sugars in the diet, the greater the risk of excessive calorie consumption. Drinking high-sugar beverages was found to increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and, in teenagers and children, to result in weight gain.

Professor Ian Macdonald, chair of the SACN Carbohydrates and Health working group, said: “The evidence is stark–too much sugar is harmful to health and we all need to cut back. The clear and consistent link between a high-sugar diet and conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes is the wake-up call we need to rethink our diet.”

The advice, which confirms provisional guidance first issued last year, applies to consumption by those aged two and over of so-called “free sugar”, which includes table sugar, the sugar added to food and drinks, and that found naturally in fruit juices, syrups and honey. For those aged 11 and over, the 5% figure equates to 30g, or seven sugar cubes.

‘Giving sugar its fix’: Public Health England recommends halving sugar consumption targets

Gendron Recheche, #Cancer Science blog

Sugar has been heavily sprinkled over the headlines this week. It’s an ever-present ingredient in kitchen cupboards, drinks and lunchboxes up and down the country. And the UK has a particularly sweet tooth, with data suggesting we consume so-called ‘free’ sugars – those artificially added to food – at such high rates it can adversely impact on our health.

In 2008, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), the body of scientific experts who advises Government on nutrition and health-related issues, was asked by Government and the Food Standards Agency to clarify the relationship between carbohydrates and health. They’ve published their recommendations today – and their headline statistics are punchy:

Adults and children should get no more than 5%, down from the previous 10%, of their energy intake from ‘free’ sugars – this is equivalent to 5-7 teaspoons of sugar
Sugar-sweetened beverages should be drunk as infrequently as possible by both adults and children
The recommended fibre intake should increase to 30g per day (equivalent to about a quarter more than the old guidelines)

That’s a big change – so what happens next? And how is this linked to cancer anyway?

A growing problem

Importantly, there isn’t conclusive evidence that sugar itself causes cancer cells to grow or spread (despite persistent myths that claim there is). But what is crystal clear is that eating more sugary food and drink increases total energy intake, which can lead to being overweight or obese – the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Being overweight and not having a healthy, balanced diet causes 49,100 extra cases of cancer every year.

 

So, will the recommendations help the UK keep a healthier waistline?

Energy intake

The UK consumes too much sugar. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that every age group exceeded even the previous guidelines – that people should get no more than 10% of their energy intake from free sugars. This is a particular problem for teenagers, who appear to get more than 15% of their energy intake from free sugars – three times the new guideline.

The new guidelines also reaffirm a definition for ‘free sugars’, which until now has not been a well-understood term. The Committee recommends that free sugars are defined as both sugars which are added to food by the cook, customer, or manufacturer (sugars like glucose and fructose), and sugars naturally present in products like honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices.

Halving the recommended maximum level of sugar intake is a clear statement that the Committee agrees with the evidence that reducing the amount of sugar in our diets can have clear benefits for a person’s health.

Sugary drinks

At face value, fizzy drinks are an odd thing to drink. They add virtually no nutrition to your diet, help you put on weight, and can be incredibly high in sugar, sometimes containing up to 35g – or 9 teaspoons – per 330ml can.

Even so, over 5.6 million litres of sugary drinks are consumed each year in the UK. And it’s young people who consume the most, with sugary drinks being responsible for about a third of a teenager’s sugar intake.

So helping people, especially teenagers, to cut down on consuming sugary drinks – for example, encouraging them to replace them with sugar-free squash – is a great way to make it easier to keep a healthy weight.

Increasing fibre

Our average fibre intake in the UK is low, even falling below the previous guideline of 18g. Because of this, the Committee’s recommendation of increasing the recommended fibre in our diet to 30g a day demonstrates the importance they put on eating a high fibre diet.

From a cancer-prevention point of view, we think this is a good idea, as there is evidence that high levels of fibre can reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer. More than 1 in 10 bowel cancers are linked to a low fibre diet, and if the UK had a diet high in fibre could avoid up to 5,100 cases of cancer every year. Fruit and vegetables are a good source of natural fibre and eating them is a great way to boost your fibre intake.

The report also stresses the importance of ensuring carbohydrates are ‘whole grain’ where possible – whole grains and cereal fibres are particularly effective in reducing bowel cancer risk.

Simple changes matter

These new guidelines demonstrate that, whilst obesity is a challenge to public health, there are a range of steps many of us can take to help reduce our weight. In turn, this can help people stack the odds of not getting cancer in their favour.

But alongside this simple lifestyle advice, there’s more to do – for example on the way foods are regulated and marketed. That’s why we’re keenly awaiting the Government building on these recommendations as part of a comprehensive strategy on childhood obesity– due later this year – to create an environment where healthier choices become the norm.

Dan

Image via flickr under CC-BY-2.0 license  Read more http://dlvr.it/BYg3fM #cancercure