Research

Cutting Global Sugar Consumption

Cutting Global Sugar Consumption

Millions of people around the world stand to benefit from a global shift in nutrition advice informed by research at Newcastle University, UK.

The amount of sugar consumed by industrialised and developing countries is stretching healthcare budgets as well as belts and impacting on obesity levels, tooth decay and people’s wellbeing.

Scientists from Newcastle University, are playing a key role in reversing this trend with research that is influencing the efforts of policy makers, healthcare providers and the food industry to drastically reduce consumption levels on a global scale.

Global guidelines for sugars threshold halved

Our research has been instrumental in a move by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to recommend halving the threshold for the maximum amount of sugar people consume daily.  

Their research revealed that, when less than 10% of calories in the diet is made up of free sugars, there are much lower levels of tooth decay. It also showed a further reduction to below 5% per day (the equivalent of six sugar cubes)  provides additional health benefits.

The US responds to advice

National policymakers around the world are now responding to this advice. For example, revised draft US dietary guidelines, issued in March 2015, proposed a 10% cap on an individual’s consumption of added sugars based on the evidence from Newcastle University. It's the first time the country has ever put a numerical cap on sugars intake.

World Dental Federation adopts WHO Guidelines

A major milestone was reached in September 2015 when the membership of FDI World Dental Federation – comprising some 200 national dental associations in 130 countries – voted to back the WHO Guidelines at their annual conference.

Professor Paula Moynihan,  at the Centre for Nutrition and Oral Health at Newcastle University, carried out the study with co-author Dr Sarah Kelly, now at Cambridge University.

Professor Moynihan said: “Considerable action is now required to reduce sugars intake globally. Possible approaches include food manufacturers reformulating products – this has worked for salt reduction and we hope this may work for sugars too.

“More stringent regulation on marketing and advertising of products high in sugars is another area for potential action, as is the introduction of a tax on foods and drinks high in sugars."

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Contact Information

Professor Paula Moynihan
Email: paula.moynihan@ncl.ac.uk 
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8241