Help stamp out excess sugar, dentists urged

The food campaign group Action on Sugar has stepped up its calls for dietary sugars to be cut, and highlighted dentists as key players in the battle to reduce it.

In a paper published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, the body has called for sugar intake to constitute an even smaller proportion of people’s diets than recent guidelines drafted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO suggests less than 5% of energy intake should be from sugar; Action on Sugar is calling for this figure to be less than 3%.

Elsewhere, an article published in The Lancet calls for dentists to be ‘at the forefront in the fight against sugar’, adding that they are ‘well positioned’ to help reduce sugar consumption. The article, which appears in the June issue of the journal, describes sugar as ‘the new tobacco’.

Professor Aubrey Sheiham, Emeritus Professor of Dental Public Health at University College London, and co-author of the study said: ‘The recommendation that sugar intake should be less than 10% of energy intake is no longer acceptable. Nutrition advice on sugar needs to be renewed now – added sugar intake should be at least less than 5% of energy intake.

‘Added sugar has found its way into almost all food, and the use of sugar as a means to calm, entertain, or reward children has become normalised, whereas sugar should be an occasional treat. The government must stop acting in the best interests of the food and drink industry rather than individuals, and take action on sugar now.’

Action on Sugar lobbies the food industry and government about the harmful effects of high-sugar diets and campaigns for the amount of sugar in processed food to be reduced.

The paper published in the journal Public Health Nutrition can be found here:

The Lancet article can be found here:

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