Guidelines for Sugar Consumption

A thin lady wraps a tape measure around her bare, thin stomach.
Limit sugar intake, get thin

What are the guidelines for sugar consumption? I’ve often wondering what happens to your body when you eliminate sugar so I went out to discover the truth. Are all the rumors true? Here is what they say:

The World Health Organization

The World Health Organization has changed its sugar recommendation—advising no more than 5% of your daily calories should come from the sweet stuff, down from the previously recommended 10 percent. Considering that more than 50 percent of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar PER DAY—translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year, we have some work to do.

The WHO’s expert panel reviewed some 9,000 studies on sugar intake. They came to the conclusion that it most definitely affects your risk for obesity and obesity-related disease. By reducing sugar intake, the WHO says, you can reduce your risk of cavities and obesity. Their analysis refers not only to table sugar found in baked goods, but honey, syrups (like HFCS), and fruit juices.

Guidelines for Sugar Consumption

The WHO drafts guidelines for sugar consumption:

“The objective of this guideline is to provide recommendations on the consumption of free sugars to reduce the risk of NCDs in adults and children, with a particular focus on the prevention and control of weight gain and dental caries. When finalized, the recommendations in this guideline can be used by programme managers and policy planners to assess current intake of free sugars relative to a benchmark and develop measures to decrease intake of free sugars.

The announcement is sure to anger the U.S. sugar industry, who about lost it over a decade ago when WHO suggested the 10 percent recommendation. As a matter of fact, back then, the industry lobbied Congress to threaten a withdraw of millions in funding to the WHO if they didn’t reverse their position.

“The less sugar you’re eating, the better,” said Dr. Robert Lustig, of the University of California and expert on the dangers of sugar. “If the sugar threshold is lowered, I think breakfast cereal is going to have a really hard time justifying its existence,” he said.

Members of the WHO panel say the 5 percent threshold is a long-shot for many consumers, but a worthwhile goal.

“We should aim for 5 percent if we can…but 10 percent is more realistic,” said Dr. Francesco Branca, WHO’s director for nutrition.

Reduce Your Intake

A single can of soda would blow a child’s entire daily sugar allotment. Many children consume this much, if not more, every single day. Children should not be drinking whole cans of soda.

Researchers from the CDC found the average American gets 15 percent of their calories from sugar. A reduction to 10 percent, let alone five, would be a vast improvement and—for many—a tough challenge.

You can immediately slash your own sugar consumption by focusing on the beverages you drink. Sodas, fruit juices, energy drinks, and fancy gourmet coffees are all loaded with the sweet stuff. Eliminating these beverages alone could help you reach a more reasonable level of sugar intake.

This is just the beginning of my posts on sugar. Sugar has many more detrimental affects on our bodies that I will be delving into in the future. So it you want to feel better, have more energy, have better sleep, less aches and pains stay tuned for more blog posts.