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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Sugar by any other name would taste as sweet, and be just as deadly

The WHO is undertaking an unusual step in going to a public consultation regarding proposed sugar guidelines.  Invited members of the public can submit comments  by March 31.  Unlike most of the media attention that suggests the guidelines are a fait รก complet,, there is still opportunity to contribute to a global effort.   Keep the link to follow the progress.   WHO sugar guideline consultation

Interestingly, one must submit a 4 page declaration of interest prior to registering as a commenter, and further the recommendations are only released once the declaration is completed.  The key recommendation that has received attention is that no more than 10% of caloric intake come from sugar and consider reducing this to 5% .  For most of us, the 10% is approximately a 50% reduction from our current diets.  By the way, the WHO already adopted a 10% guideline back in 2002 and presumably the fuss is about the reduction to less than 5%.

Why all the secrecy? (and if anyone has leaked a copy of the guidelines on-line, DrPHealth would be happy to post a link).  There is enough concern and evidence of the past history of “Big Sugar” on impacting dietary guidelines, and even leading astray on a path of expanding girths.   Link back to DrPHealth the Men who made us Fat.  In truth, throughout the several years of postings on this site, sugar has been added to many pages, and not to sweeten the material.   The first of these, a post Number 15 Sugar, how sweet it isn't  closed with a call for action

… where is the dialogue on how can we systematically reduce caloric intake through changes in how we prepare foods?   For our society that is expanding at the waistline, tough choices will need to be made on how to revert to sustainable and healthy diets.  Leaving it to consumers to "choose" the healthy option is abandoning our neighbours - something a civic society would not consider acceptable.    

The food industry will be the barrier and there is no evidence they are interested or willing to respond.  And while the WHO guidelines are a progressive step – we already have a government unwilling to move on salt limitations on processed food.  With such sourpusses in power, they need their sugar coating to have even an allusion of sweetness.  

The revised guidelines are a step, and only a baby step until stricter requirements are issued on marketing of higher sugar products just as such limitations were required  and effective in reversing the trends in tobacco consumption. 

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