Heart Diseases: Sugar

Health written question – answered on 12th February 2014.

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Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Labour, Vale of Clwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the effect of sugar consumption on heart disease.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The Government is not currently aware of evidence showing that sugar intake specifically causes heart disease. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), a committee of experts who advise the Government on nutrition .issues, is currently reviewing the evidence on sugar as part of its carbohydrates and health review. This will include evaluating the scientific literature on sugar and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Upon receipt of SACN's recommendations, the Government will consider whether its advice on carbohydrates (including sugar) requires updating.

We continue to advise people to eat a healthy, balanced diet and that sugary foods and drinks should be eaten sparingly in order to reduce the risk of tooth decay and the overconsumption of calories.

From the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS), it is known that people in the United Kingdom are generally eating too much sugar. For some groups, such as adolescents, sugar intakes are particularly high.

The Government provide tips to the public on reducing sugar intake and healthy eating advice through the Live Well pages on the NHS Choices website. Also we have an on-going “Smart Swaps” campaign through our flagship Change4Life, which encourages people to improve their health and wellbeing by making healthy diet changes, such as swapping sugary cereal for plain cereal or swapping sugary drinks for sugar free drinks, milk or water. We also provide guidance on reading food labels to assist consumers in making healthy choices.

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