WHO Sugar Recommendations

Changed on: 24.03.2017

WHO Guideline for Free Sugars Intake

Abb.1: Various types of sugar and honey in white bowls

New guidelines for the recommended intake of sugar to help control unhealthy weight gain and dental caries and prevent secondary diseases were published by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 5th March, 2015.

These guidelines are based on the evaluation of several scientific studies on the consumption of sugar by adults and children and the risk of unhealthy weight gain and dental caries.

The WHO guidelines focus on the intake of free sugars. This includes glucose and dextrose, fructose, household sugar (sucrose), as well as malt sugar (maltose) and also sugars that are found in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. Free sugars are either added to the food by the consumers themselves (e.g. sugar in coffee, honey in muesli, …), but they are also found in many processed foods (e.g. ready meals, soft drinks, cookies) and in the catering sector (e.g. sugar in desserts).

The WHO guidelines do not refer to sugar that is found naturally in fresh fruit or milk.

WHO recommends a maximum of 6 to 12 teaspoons of free sugars per day

WHO recommends reducing free sugar intake at all stages of life to under 10 percent of physical calories to reduce the risk of unhealthy weight gain and dental caries. This equals a maximum of 50 g of sugar per day (ca. 12 teaspoons) for the average adult (at a calorie intake of 2,000 kcal).

In addition, WHO believes a further reduction in free sugar intake to less than five percent of energy (i.e. no more than six teaspoons sugar for adults per day) would be sensible. However, this is still a provisory recommendation and the implementation of this as a health policy must be discussed.

Sugar is added to many foods in various quantities: a glass of lemonade (200 ml) contains an average of 20 g sugar, a fruit yoghurt pot (200 g) contains 25-30 g sugar and one strip of milk chocolate (16.7 g) contains about nine grams on average.

Consumer Tips to Reduce Sugar Intake

This is how you can save sugar: link to food tips at www.gesundheit.gv.at – Das Gesundheitsportal.