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Sweet-tooth Britain is urged to halve its daily sugar hit

By January 22, 2014 The Dental Surgery Blog

The maximum daily sugar intake should be halved to five teaspoons, scientists have said, as they warned that treats that were traditionally saved for birthdays or Christmas have become staples.
Since 1990, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended that intake of “free sugars” should be less than 10 per cent of the total energy, or calorie, intake.
Free sugars are sugars that are added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, as well as those naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates.
Researchers from Newcastle University have recommended that halving the threshold to less than five per cent of calories, around five teaspoons a day, would minimise the risk of dental decay and let people keep their teeth for life.
Paula Moynihan, a professor of nutrition and oral health at Newcastle University, said: “Part of the problem is that sugary foods and drinks are now staples in many people’s diet in industrialised countries, whereas once they were an occasional treat for a birthday or Christmas. We need to reverse this trend.
“People now expect to keep their teeth into old age and, given that the effects of sugars on our teeth are lifelong, limiting sugars to less than five per cent of the calories we eat would minimise the risk of dental cavities throughout life.”
The research, which looked at 55 dental health studies dating back to the Fifties, also found that fluoride does not protect against cavities caused by sugar. Prof Moynihan said: “Fluoride undoubtedly protects the teeth against decay, but it does not eliminate tooth decay and it does not get rid of the cause; dietary sugars. Moreover, not everyone has good exposure to fluoride through drinking water and or toothpastes containing fluoride.”
The NHS warns that foods which are high in sugar should be avoided as they can lead to heart disease and diabetes.
Free sugars should not make up more than 10 per cent of the energy provided by food and drink each day, typically about 70g (2.5oz) for men and 50g (1.8oz) for women.
More than 22.5g (0.8oz) of total sugars per 100g (3.5oz) is considered high for food.
Prof Moynihan added: “The public need better information on the health risks of sugary foods and drinks and 8 there needs to be clearer information on the levels of sugars in our foods and drinks.
“We need to make it easier for people to make healthier choices when it comes E to sugars by ensuring that options lower in added sugars are made widely available in schools, shops and the workplace.”
The study was published in the Journal of Dental Research.