Spain

Why sugar can play a part in a balanced diet

No single food or drink contains all the essential nutrients your body needs, which is why variety is key. The World Health Organization (WHO) (1) defines a healthy balanced diet as including four food groups.

It is important to also make sure that the energy you take in as food and drinks (measured in calories) is balanced out by the energy you use up through physical activity.

In addition to the WHO guidelines, in October 2020, the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (34, 35) introduced the following recommendations:

  • An intake of free sugars* of less than 10% of total energy intake. A further reduction to less than 5% of total energy intake is suggested for additional health benefits
  • Food products with added sugars* and salt must be avoided as much as posible
  • Sucrose intake should be less than 30g/day; 5-10g per intake (dessertspoon).

*Added sugars are defined as the definition adopted in Annex II of the European Framework for National Initiatives on Selected Nutrients of the European Commission: sugars that are added to food during its preparation, preparation or cooking, as well as those present in a natural in honey, syrups, juices and fruit concentrates. This definition is equivalent to that of free sugars, included in the World Health Organization’s guide on sugar intake for adults and children of 2015.

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