Scrutiny on sugar has intensified in recent weeks

Scrutiny on sugar has intensified in recent weeks

The level of sugar in people's diets should be halved, according to fresh guidance from the World Health Organization.

New guidelines from the WHO re-state a recommendation from 2002 that sugars should make up less than 10% of total energy intake per day.

However, they also suggest taking the level down to 5% will benefit consumers. "The new draft guideline also proposes that sugars should be less than 10% of total energy intake per day. It further suggests that a reduction to below 5% of total energy intake per day would have additional benefits," the WHO said today (5 March), as it opened a consultation period on its guidelines for sugar consumption.

Five per cent of total energy intake is equivalent to around 25 grams, or six teaspoons of sugar per day, for an adult of "normal body mass index", the WHO said.

"Much of the sugars consumed today are hidden in processed foods that are not usually seen as sweets," the WHO explained. For example, one tablespoon of ketchup contains around four grams - around 1 teaspoon - of sugars. A single can of sugar-sweetened soda contains up to 40 grams - around 10 teaspoons - of sugar.