Intended for healthcare professionals


WHO may revise guideline on sugar to combat tooth decay

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 06 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g21
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

The World Health Organization may recommend halving the level of sugar in the diet, prompted by a review of the link between sugar consumption and tooth decay.1

The present WHO guidelines say that sugar should not exceed 10% of dietary energy—but the review, led by Paula Moynihan of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Nutrition and Oral Health at Newcastle University, found evidence that a lower limit of 5% may be justified to reduce the risk of caries.

A WHO spokesman confirmed that new guidelines were being drafted but could give no information on timing. Public consultation would be sought when the draft guidelines are published by the WHO Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group, he said.

The sugar industry is expected to strongly oppose any change to the existing WHO guideline, which was set out in 2003. The WHO advisory group had originally planned …

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