Guidelines To Reduce The Health Costs of Sugar

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - First Lady Michelle Obama has unveiled plans for the most sweeping overhaul of nutrition labels on U.S. food packages in more than two decades. This announcement is part of Mrs Obama’s ‘Let's Move’ initiative to combat child obesity, which is celebrating its fourth anniversary.

This will be a remarkable transformation as calorie counts will appear in larger, bolder type, and consumers will know for the first time whether foods have added sugars. Under the Obama administration's plan, labels will also feature more realistic descriptions of a serving. It’s a significant redrawing of the nutrition information on food labels since the federal government started requiring them in the early 1990s. Those labels were based on eating habits and nutrition data from the 1970s and ’80s, before portion sizes expanded considerably. Federal health officials have argued that these changes were needed to bring labels into step with the reality of the modern American diet.

Food items like the size of a muffin for example, have changed dramatically. Therefore, it is important that the information on the nutrition fact labels reflect the realities in the world today. Americans pay attention to food labels, and the changes are meant to make them easier to understand, a critical step in an era when more than one-third of adults are obese. Governments around the world are increasingly taking measures to curb excess intake of sugar because of the growing burden on health budgets.

Now, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has proposed new health guidelines recommending that adults should limit themselves to no more than the equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar a day to avoid health risks such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The guidelines follow several studies on the impact of sugar on obesity and dental cavities, including the role of ‘hidden’ sugars which are found in processed foods such as sweets and sugary fizzy drinks.

This news comes after England's chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, told the government that a ‘sugar tax’ may need to be introduced to curb child and adult obesity. Professor Davies added that being overweight had become normal in Britain and the government needs to regulate the food and drinks industry to protect people against the dangers of excess calorie consumption. The WHO guidelines add fuel to an already highly charged global debate between the food and drink industry, and doctors about sugar and health.

Photo Credit: Delicious The Gluten Free Bakery