Cut Down On Sugar, Eat More Fibre

20 March 2016, 07:34 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Sugary drinks and cubes

Consumers should eat less sugar and more fibre, according to newly-issued guidelines.

The Scottish Government has published the advice based on the latest evidence from nutrition experts.

When it comes to sugar, adults are advised to try and eat no more than 30g, or six teaspoons, of sugar per day. Children should have less than that.

That matches guidance from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) last year which states that "free'' sugars should form no more than 5% of a person's diet - a 50% reduction on the previously-recommended level.

Free sugars are those added to food or naturally occurring in fruit juices, honey and syrups. Eating too much sugar can lead to health problems including obesity and diabetes.

The new goals also recommend people eat 30g of fibre a day, up 25% on previous levels.

Fibre helps to prevent heart disease, diabetes and weight gain, and it can improve digestive health and reduce the risk of some cancers.

Carbohydrates should make up about half of a person's total energy intake, according to the guidelines.

Public health minister Maureen Watt said: "Despite some improvements in recent years, obesity levels are still too high in Scotland.

"Also, in common with most of western Europe, we have seen continued increases in the levels of Type 2 diabetes.

"It's clear that, as a nation, we need to improve our diet and think more about reducing our sugar intake and eating more fibre.''

The new Scottish Dietary Goals were also based on advice from Food Standards Scotland (FSS).

FSS chair Ross Finnie said: "In January, we recommended a broad set of measures to bolster progress towards achieving the dietary goals and to address the problems of poor diet and obesity that we face in Scotland.

"These recommendations include actions on food and drink promotions; consideration of a sugar tax; product reformulation and portion-size reductions, together with measures to educate and empower consumers to take actions to improve their own diets.

"Making progress towards the Scottish Dietary Goals requires commitment and collective action from consumers and industry.

"Food Standards Scotland will continue to offer leadership and coordination to bring about real change for Scotland.''

In Wednesday's Budget, Chancellor George Osborne unveiled a new sugary drinks tax - to be in operation by 2018 - aimed at fighting childhood obesity.