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Europe: Eat less sugar, more fiber, says committee

In order to maintain better health, most people should reduce the amount of sugar in their diet, and increase the amount of fiber, according to the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) report on carbohydrates and health.

However, achieving this across the population will take a big effort, not just from food producers, but from consumers, retailers and the government, says the Institute of Food Research.

It says manufacturers must continue their efforts to reduce added sugar in food, and these new recommendations for halving the recommended daily sugar intake will add new impetus for them to do this.

To achieve the dietary changes that the evidence is showing people need to make to improve their health, many will need to make significant changes to their diet, especially as they are failing to meet current guidelines on decreasing sugar and increasing fiber.

This can be supported by government, through education and other incentives, and by the food industry, through empowering consumers with clear labeling and providing alternatives.

Ultimately, it will be up to consumers to make changes needed.

IFR hopes that the evidence assessed and provided by SACN will show the benefits of a healthy diet, low in sugar and high in fiber, and lead to more consumers achieving this.

Whilst the advice to cut sugar is gathering most attention, IFR believes that people should increase fiber in their diet.

Cereals are an easy way of adding fiber, and the SACN review recommends increasing whole grain cereals.

Fiber intake can also be increased through eating more fruit and vegetables.

The SACN report main recommendations include:

– The consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (fizzy drinks, soft drinks and squash) should be minimized by both children and adults,

– The current recommendation that starchy carbohydrates, wholegrain where possible, should form 50% of daily calorie intake is maintained, and

– The average population to increase the intake of dietary fiber.