Independent report

SACN Carbohydrates and Health Report

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition recommendations on carbohydrates, including sugars and fibre


SACN Carbohydrates and Health report

Supporting Documents

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The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) was asked by the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency to examine the latest evidence on the links between consumption of carbohydrates, sugars, starch and fibre and a range of health outcomes (such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, bowel health and tooth decay) to ensure the government’s position on consumption was up-to-date.

In addition to the main report, you can read the SACN press release

In its review of the evidence, SACN found that:

  • High levels of sugar consumption are associated with a greater risk of tooth decay.

  • The higher the proportion of sugar in the diet, the greater the risk of high energy intake.

  • Drinking high-sugar beverages results in weight gain and increases in BMI in teenagers and children.

  • Consuming too many high-sugar beverages increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In light of these findings, SACN recommends that:

  • Free sugars should account for no more than 5% daily dietary energy intake.

  • The term free sugars is adopted, replacing the terms Non Milk Extrinsic Sugars (NMES) and added sugars. Free sugars are those added to food or those naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices, but exclude lactose in milk and milk products.

  • The consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (e.g. fizzy drinks, soft drinks and squash) should be minimised by both children and adults.

In addition to the main report, you can access the supporting documents in the zip file above. These include:

  • the systematic reviews of evidence on cardio-metabolic health (documents 1 to 10), colo-rectal health (document 11) and oral health (document 12).

  • update searches and related tables (document 13).

  • additional meta-analyses (document 14).

SACN received a substantial number of responses to the public consultation on its draft Carbohydrates and Health report. You can view the responses in full and in summary, SACN’s responses to them, and the original consultation documentation on the page for the public consultation on the draft Carbohydrates and Health report.

Hard copies can be purchased on The Stationery Office Shop website

Published 17 July 2015