Media Statement

Australian Beverages Council responds to World Health Organization (WHO)’s recommended sugar intake guidelines

The Australian Beverages Council has today responded to the WHO’s announcement that the daily recommended added sugar intake be further reduced to below 5% for ‘additional health benefits’, labelling the claim both unsubstantiated and unachievable.

“With a public health challenge as serious and complex as obesity, we must ensure that policy decisions focused on public health are based on the best scientific evidence, which this recommendation is not,” said the Council’s CEO Geoff Parker.

Obesity is a complex issue and focusing on added sugars as the primary contributor to obesity overlooks many other factors. Foods and beverages containing sugars can have a place in a sensible, balanced diet when combined with regular physical activity.

Numerous respected scientific bodies, including the WHO, have recognised that the fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories (kilojoules) consumed and calories expended[1]. These recently released guidelines are not addressing the full issue of obesity.

The Australian beverages industry has long recognised it has a role to play, along with other stakeholders, in addressing the complex and multi-factorial issues of overweight and obesity.

The industry has taken significant measures to provide consumers with more options and information to allow informed dietary choices through developing reformulated products to offer low and no-sugar varieties, voluntarily displaying kilojoule information on the front of labels and restricting sales of regular kilojoule soft drinks in schools.

“As an industry we are taking significant action through innovation, reformulation and other initiatives to adapt to Australian’s changing lifestyles. Whether it is new packaging, new product sizes, or the introduction of additional low or no kilojoule options, we are consistently working to provide products that allow consumers to make choices that are right for them and their families,” Mr Parker concluded.


For an interview with Geoff Parker, contact: Michelle Curley 0416 168 475

The Australian Beverages Council is the peak body for the non-alcoholic beverages industry and represents 95% of the industry’s production volume through membership.

[1] World Health Organization (WHO). Fact Sheet on Overweight and Obesity. Accessed 15 May 2014.

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