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Set a maximum recommended free sugars intake for children and adolescents of 5% dietary daily energy intake

Action on Sugar welcomed the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) draft report on Carbohydrates and Health in June, 2014, which recommended a population-average target of 5% of dietary energy intakes, with an individual target of 10%.  We responded with a strong request for the 5% target to be applied to individuals, not just the population-average, on the basis of evidence for dental caries and weight gain.

Since then, a new analysis of the relationship between free sugar intakes and dental caries suggest that 5% free sugars should be the absolutely upper limit for individuals, with population averages of 2-3% or less, even when fluoride is widely used.  

Given that that tooth decay is the major cause of admissions to hospital for children, and that dental caries are uniquely associated with free sugars, we implore the UK Government to endorse a separate recommendation that free sugars should provide ‘less than 5% of individual dietary energy intakes for children and adolescents.’   

Also we feel the recommendation on the consumption of sugars-sweetened beverages should be stronger and it should state that ‘sugars-sweetened beverages should not be given to children and adolescents, and should be generally avoided in adults.’

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