The WHO’s sugar guidelines – have your say

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Regular readers will know that I’m a bit obsessed with sugar and avoiding it wherever I possibly can. As someone with both chronic conditions (eczema and seborrheic dermatitis) and an interest in natural health and wellbeing, it’s been impossible to ignore the debate about the role of sugar in our overall health in recent months.

Research indicates that sugar could be the real culprit of the obesity crisis and a big part in the development of health problems from chronic skin and digestive conditions to heart disease and cancers. I’ve spent a lot of time reading around the research, helped in a big way by the tireless work of Sarah Wilson at who is brilliant at interpreting the facts and reporting on both sides of the debate in a meticulously thorough way.

Even without the power of the evidence out there, my personal experiences giving up sugar for sustained periods told me everything I needed to know about the impact of excess sugar on health. Last year I went sugar-free for two months. My skin improved, I slept better, I was emotionally and mentally stronger, and had energy and motivation way above what I normally experience. Since then, I’ve been encouraged to continue on a reduced sugar diet as much as possible and to keep seeking out alternatives (, and are brilliant sources of inspiration for recipes and new eating habits).

Why am I banging on about this again?

Because the World Health Organisation (WHO) have announced a draft consultation recommending that guidelines for sugar consumption are reduced from approximately 12 to 6 teaspoons per day. This is really big news. They tried it before – 10 years ago – and were robustly overturned by big companies with commercial interests in sugar production (and not people’s health). This time, the WHO have opened the consultation to the public and invited them to comment on the proposed changes. Now people who believe that public health should come before commercial profits have the opportunity to add their voices to the debate and try to push through this change. Which might then put pressure on governments and food manufacturers to reduce the excessive and unnecessary amount of sugar in many of the products out there, particularly those aimed at children. If people want to add sugar to their food, they have a right to do so but it’s time food manufacturers stopped feeding us insane amounts of hidden sugars, particularly in foods seen as ‘healthy’.

What can you do?

If this is something that gets your goat, add your voice to the debate. There are two ways to do this:

  • The really easy way – visit here and add your signature to Sarah’s petition.
  • The slightly more complicated way (perfect if you have your own views or comments to make): visit this link and complete a declaration of interest form (download it at the bottom of the page). This tells the WHO that you haven’t (or have…?) affiliations to ‘interested parties’. Once they receive your form, they’ll release a link via email that gives you access to the comment form, which you can complete and submit online. I’ve done it – it really was quite straightforward.

Thank you so much for reading and for bearing with me while I get onto my soapbox.

I’m getting off now!

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