New guidelines on health and carbohydrates issued

17 July 2015        


The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has published their final recommendations on carbohydrates, including sugars and fibre following a draft report in 2014. The report examined the latest evidence on the links between consumption of carbohydrates, sugars, starch and fibre and a range of health outcomes (such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, bowel health and tooth decay).

In its review of the evidence, SACN found that:
  • High levels of sugar consumption are associated with a greater risk of tooth decay. The higher the proportion of sugar in the diet, the greater the risk of high energy intake.
  • Drinking high-sugar beverages results in weight gain and increases in BMI in teenagers and children.
  • Consuming too many high-sugar beverages increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Based on these findings, SACN is recommending that free sugars should account for no more than 5% of a person’s daily dietary energy intake, half of the current recommended intake. 

Free sugars are those added to food or those naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices, but exclude lactose in milk and milk products. The committee also recommended that the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks (e.g. fizzy drinks, soft drinks and squash) should be kept to a minimum by both children and adults.

Tracy Parker, our Heart Health Dietitian, said: “We welcome the results of SACN’s much needed report which sets out a clear blueprint for halving our sugar intake and dramatically increasing fibre in our diet. The ambitious aims set out by the panel will require a concerted effort across the food chain if they are to make the leap from recommendations to reality for British families.

“We all have a role in improving the nation’s diet. Consumers, communities, industry and government all have a part to play in meeting these new recommendations. In addition to the new guidelines, we should also bear in mind that balance and variety in our diet will continue to be good for our heart health.”

You can find lots of heart-friendly recipes on our free recipe finder