This POSTnote summarises the health risks associated with eating a diet high in sugar and outlines the policy options that might best enable people to limit their sugar consumption.Jump to full report >>
"We are eating to much sugar and it is bad for our health" is the opening statement of Public Health England's latest report on sugar. Consuming sugar increases the risk of tooth decay and is associated with type 2 diabetes and weight gain.
In this briefing you can read about the policy options that would help people to limit their consumption of sugar within government guidelines. For adults and children aged over 11, sugar consumption should be limited to no more than 5% of total dietary energy - this equates to about 30g or 7 sugar cubes. This is the amount of sugar in an average can of cola. National surveys of diet and nutrition show that all age groups consume more than double this amount, as shown in the graph below (Source: Public Health England). The consumption of sugar and sugary drinks is particularly high in school age children. It is highly likely that the data collected in the survey is an under-estimate of actual consumption.
Policies to improve public health through diet generally consider all nutrients and dietary patterns, as well as physical activity, to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle. Recent policy and campaigning focus has been on targeting sugar, and the interventions that will help people to eat less. They are include:
You can read more about these options in the POSTnote.
POSTnotes are based on literature reviews and interviews with a range of stakeholders and are externally peer reviewed. POST would like to thank interviewees and peer reviewers for kindly giving up their time during the preparation of this briefing, including:
Authors: Sarah Bunn; Gulzaar Barn