One teaspoon in your morning coffee, 10 grams in the cookies you eat for breakfast, 40 in the can of soda you drink during your lunch-break and… BEWARE! You’ve already exceeded your recommended daily sugar intake.
According to the new WHO guidelines we should reduce the intake of free sugars to less than 10%, or better less than 5% of our total energy intake. In simpler terms, if our diet is made up by 2000 calories we shouldn’t eat more than 50 or better 25 grams of sugar a day. How much is this? Consider that a teaspoon of sugar equals to about 5 grams. To calculate your daily intake you shouldn’t only consider the spoons you add your beverages though, since sugars are added to foods and drinks by manufacturers and naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices.
Counting calories, cutting on fatty foods, eating vegetables 5 times a day and now no more sweets? Why should we live such a sugar deprived existence? Well, a bitterer life could mean a longer and healthier life. Reducing the sugar intake is one of the strategies to fight overweight and obesity, which are almost epidemic in some countries not only among adults but also among children. An excess in body weight is a known risk factor for hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases (e.g. cardiac infarct and cerebral stroke) and even some types of cancer.
Reducing sugar intake would also reduce the risk of tooth decay, leading to an unexpected benefit: less visits to the dentist.
The “less than 5% recommendation” is actually conditional, this means it’s not supported by sufficient scientific proof. Allegedly because of this, representatives of the Italian government in the WHO-commission spoke strongly against it. It’s a bit suspicious though, that one of them, Luca Del Balzo, was in the past a senior advisor for Ferrero, a big international confectionery company.
Written by Irene Campagna