The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) have published a report detailing their new recommendations for sugar and fibre intake. This follows a 7 year study by the SACN which found that our high sugar diets are significantly influencing the increase of obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and tooth decay.

The Current Recommendations

The government currently recommends that no more than 11% of a person’s daily food calories should come from sugar. This figure is reduced to 10% when alcohol is taken into account. This is approximately 14 teaspoons of sugar.

The New Recommendations

The Scientific Advisory Committee (SACN) has now suggested that individuals should receive only 5% of their daily calories from sugar, half the current recommendations. The figure refers to “free-sugars”, which includes table sugar, the sugar added to food and drinks, and that found naturally in fruit juices, syrups and honey. In addition to this they have increased the recommendation for daily fibre to 30g a day, up from 24g.

These guidelines may be difficult for most people to follow, as latest data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey stated that children aged between 11 and 18 get 15.4% of their total energy intake from sugar. Adults’ aged between 19 and 64 get 11.5 per cent of their energy from sugar, well over double what they should be consuming.


As a result of the new recommendations, the British Medical Association is calling for a 20% tax on sugary drinks to deter purchase, and for the government to implement a sugar reduction target of 40% by 2020. Furthermore, supermarkets such as Tesco’s will be removing some products containing a disproportionately high sugar content, such as Capri Suns.

Soft drink companies are advised to rethink their product formulation following the report, as only 1 can of original Coca Cola exceeds the recommendations of an adult’s daily sugar intake, it contains 36g of sugar! Suggested changes include reduced sugar recipes and smaller serving sizes.

The new recommendations will be reflected in the labelling of foods, as traffic light nutrition labels will adhere to the new recommendations. Restaurants, bars, and hotels within the hospitality sector will not be required to change their operations. However, it may inspire chefs and bartenders to rethink the sugar content of the food and drink that they serve.

If you need any further advice on how to adjust your business to the new regulation, please contact our Food Alert on or 020 7244 1900.




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