The UK has led the way in public health by working towards voluntary salt reduction targets, which is predicted to be saving at least 9,000 lives a year with just a 15% reduction in salt intakes across the population. Taste receptors have adjusted and people are used to a less salty taste.
The average consumption of added sugar far exceeds the current recommendation of no more than 10% food energy for all age groups, most notably for children aged 1.5 to 3, 4 to 10 and 11 to 18 years where average intakes provided 11.9% (144kcal), 14.7% (253kcal) and 15.6% (297kcal) food energy respectively.
An average of 100kcal/person/day could be removed from the diet by meeting sugar reduction targets set for each category of food and drink that contains free sugars. By gradual reductions of ~10% each year, we could aim for a ~40% reduction from current levels by 2020. This amount is predicted by the Department of Health to halt the rise in obesity.
We recommend that sugar reduction targets are set for sugar-sweetened drinks first, followed by all the contributors of free sugars in the diet, preferably to be achieved without artificial sweeteners. This policy would particularly benefit those from lower income households who currently consume more free sugars than those in higher income households.
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