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WHO Backs Tax on Sugary Foods and Drinks

18/10/2016

WHO Backs Tax on Sugary Foods and DrinksA report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that the global body has added its support to countries that place a "sugar tax" on soft drinks.

It's the first time the WHO has thrown its support behind taxation. Previously, it had stopped short, simply advising a lower sugar intake.

Several countries, including Mexico and Hungary, already tax added sugar products, and South Africa is introducing a sugar tax next year - the only country in Africa to do so.

The WHO said that incidences of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay can be lowered if people lower their consumption of "free sugars". Free sugars are all the different types of sugar people eat, except for the ones found naturally in milk and fruit.

Dr Francesco Branca, nutrition director for the WHO, said that people should keep their sugar intake below 10% of their total calorie intake, and below 5% if possible.

"Nutritionally, people don't need any sugar in their diet," he said.

The WHO report found that raising prices by 20% or more leads to lower consumption and "improved nutrition". It also noted that government subsidies for fruit and vegetables, which inevitably lead to lower prices, can have a positive impact on the amount people consume.
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