BNF and BDA comment on sugar reduction guidelines


British Nutrition Foundation and British Dietetic Association welcome guidelines and new baseline data by Public Health England

The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) and British Dietetic Association (BDA) today welcome sugar reduction guidelines published by Public Health England.

These ambitious guidelines have been set, in discussion with food companies, for a range of food categories which currently contribute the most sugar to children’s diets.

The government is aiming for a 20% reduction in total sugar sold in each of the food categories as a part of efforts to tackle childhood obesity.

Food manufacturers will be expected to meet the goals by 2020, through a combination of food reformulation, reducing portion sizes and by shifting sales towards lower sugar alternatives.

“The new government recommendation to reduce our intake of free sugars to less than 5% of food energy is very challenging. Action across all sectors, including out of home food outlets, is going to be key to any success” said BNF Director General Professor Judy Buttriss.

“Some companies have already made significant changes to the sugar and calorie content of their products and there have been some encouraging announcements of plans by industry to step up to the challenge.”

“Organisations such as the BDA and BNF, which provide evidence-based information to help the public choose a healthier diet, have an important role to play to explain to the public the changes that are being made to products and how to put recommendations on sugars reduction into practice” said Buttriss.

“This includes promoting the idea that smaller portions are a positive step to reduce our energy intakes and contribute to the fight against the obesity problem we face in Britain.”

“While the voluntary sugar reformulation work and sugar levy that the government has introduced are welcome, both organisations feel much more needs to be done to tackle childhood and adult obesity.”

“For example, to ensure that the broader principles of a healthy diet depicted in the Eatwell Guide, not just the need to reduce free sugar intake, are better understood and acted upon by the public, not forgetting that an active lifestyle is also important.”

BDA Deputy Chief Executive, Sue Kellie, said:

“The government now needs to commit to further action in areas such as advertising and promotions.”

“While there are new tougher advertising guidelines on non-broadcasting media, this does not go far enough. The government needs to further restrict the advertising of High Fat, Sugar and Salt foods before the 9pm watershed and ban promotions on those same products.

“Dietitians have the tools and skills to drive behaviour change and help children and families to prepare and maintain a healthy diet.”

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“If we are to successfully tackle obesity and reduce its long term costs to the NHS and wider economy, we need to change attitudes and habits in the long term – there’s no quick fix,” said Kellie.