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WHO: Only 5% of Your Daily Calories Should Come From Sugar

Two sugar cubes on spoon, close-up (still life)
Jose Luis Pelaez—Getty Images

Down from 10%

A spoonful of sugar won’t help this medicine go down: the WHO issued new guidelines Wednesday saying only 5% of a person’s total daily calories should come from sugar, half of what the organization previously recommended.

WHO experts said that dropping recommended daily sugar amount to 5% would help fight cavities and obesity, but admits that it’s a tough goal to meet. “We should aim for 5 percent if we can,” WHO nutrition direction Dr. Francesco Brana said in a news conference Wednesday, “but 10 percent is more realistic.”

Americans and other Westerners would have to cut out two-thirds of their total sugar intake to meet the new WHO guidelines, the Associated Press reports. The last time the WHO revised its sugar guidelines was 10 years ago, when it recommended that no more than 10 percent of daily calories come from sugar.

Doctors have applauded the WHO’s new recommendations, saying that sugar intake directly leads to obesity and tooth decay. Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California and author of a book about sugar, said that the WHO’s recommendation will be healthy for everyone. “The less sugar you’re eating, the better.”


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