The Sugar Association filed comments with the World Health Organization (WHO) as part its Public Consultation on Draft Sugars Guideline launched March 5, 2014.  In the filing, the association noted, “It is a public disservice when policy-setting agencies arbitrarily create a singular definition, whether denominated as ‘free sugars’ or as ‘added sugars,’ to characterize compositionally and metabolically distinct monosaccharides and disaccharides, or various mixtures thereof.”

“We acknowledge the World Health Organization’s efforts to help all nations address the issues of obesity and dental caries—we were pleased to provide science-based comments during the consultation period,” said Charles Baker, PhD, Chief Science Officer of the Sugar Association.  “Unfortunately, we remain concerned that the draft guidelines’ suggested limits—which would lump together sugar (sucrose) and other caloric sweeteners—rely heavily on insufficient scientific evidence.  This was the basis of our submission.”

As noted in the filing, “The draft guidelines discussion fails to acknowledge the weakness of the evidence in the two cited reviews. This noticeable omission undermines the legitimacy of the recommendations put forth in the draft guidelines document. When compounded by the failures to review the complete body of evidence, the draft guidelines appears to directly conflict with the tenets of the WHO nutrition guidelines development protocol.  Further undermining the legitimacy of the proposed recommendation is the failure to acknowledge the compositional and metabolic diversities of the ‘free sugars’ amalgamation. Responses, specifically addressing the ‘free sugars’ recommendation put forth in the 2002 draft report of the WHO/FAO joint consultation (antecedent of WHO Technical Report 916) pointed out some of the same failures as those in the present draft guidelines document.”

“It’s important to note that other organizations have considered intake limits with different conclusions: a report by the U.S. Institute of Medicine (September 2002) proclaimed there was no conclusive evidence to justify establishing an intake limit for ‘added sugars.  The European Food Safety Authority reaffirmed the same conclusion in 2010,” Baker concluded.

To view full comments, click here.

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