The recent and widely reported concern about sugars consumption has led to a good deal of confusion amongst the public and health professionals alike, and the BNF has received many enquiries relating to sugars in the foods and drinks we consume.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), a committee of independent experts that advises the Government on nutrition issues, now recommends that the average intake, across the UK population, of free sugars should not exceed 5% of total dietary energy intake. But what are free sugars and how might we reduce our consumption?

BNF has produced a resource Exploring sugars in the foods we buy that we hope will clarify some of the major areas of misunderstanding and provide a useful guide to those who want more information on this fascinating, but sometimes complex, subject.

For more information on the sources used in this text, please contact

Last reviewed September 2015. Next review due September 2018.


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