The UK government should cut its recommendation for sugar intake in half, advisers on the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) said today (26 June).

The scientific body, which feeds into UK government agency Public Health England (PHE), said the country’s population should lower the consumption of added sugar to around 5% of the daily dietary energy intake. That is a total of around 25g of added sugar for women and 35g for men.

The UK government’s current advice recommends free sugars can account for as much as 10% of energy intake.

PHE responded by stressing sugar reduction is a “key focus” in the UK’s public health policy. The body issued a report of its own, Sugar Reduction: responding to the challenge.

Addressing a press briefing in London, Dr Alison Tedstone, PHE director of diet and obesity and chief nutritionist, said the body is “very concerned about sugar intake in England”.

She told journalists: “If you look at the dietary data, you see every population group in England is exceeding current guidelines… adolescents by more than 50% [on average]… Over the last five years, intakes have not changed. There have been no improvements.”

PHE launched a digital campaign promoting lower sugar intake this morning. It is also examining the effectiveness of different policies that can be used to cut national sugar consumption, including the performance of sugar taxes introduced in other countries, such as Mexico and France.

For a more detailed look at the future possibilities for public health policy on sugar in the UK, click here.