Sugar is sugar is sugar. In high amounts, there are some differences between different sugars. For example, there is considerable evidence that high intakes of fructose (much more than you would have in multiple servings of real fruit per day) are a stress on the liver, much more so than glucose. The thing is, high intakes of sugars of any kind should not be on in the first place!
Just out on July 17th, 2015, is a new set of recommendations from Public Health England. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition has published their recommendations on carbohydrates, including sugars and fibre.
"Free sugars are those added to food (e.g. sucrose (table sugar), glucose) or those naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices, but exclude lactose in milk and milk products."
The new U.K. recommendations include keeping free sugar intake to no more than: - 19g or 5 sugar cubes for children aged 4 to 6, - 24g or 6 sugar cubes for children aged 7 to 10, - 30g or 7 sugar cubes for 11 years and over
The press release includes the following key points:
- 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.
In light of these findings, SACN recommends that:
- Free sugars should account for no more than 5% daily dietary energy intake.
- The term free sugars is adopted, replacing the terms Non Milk Extrinsic Sugars (NMES) and added sugars. 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 consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (e.g. fizzy drinks, soft drinks and squash) should be minimised by both children and adults.
(Note: the term “squash” means fruit juice.)
Link for the full report, which includes discussion of many aspects of the topics of sugars, starches and fibre: “Carbohydrates and Health”
Link for the SACN press release, which provides a brief summary: