chris elliott article sugar

Sir, Professor Elliott writes (‘No single quick fix for sugar’, 23 April, p23) that the consumption of “sugar causes a multitude of health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes” and “sugar acts as an endocrine disrupting agent”.

However intense the focus on sugar may be at this point, surely accurate statements on nutrition science remain important? In 2015, the UK’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition published a report, Carbohydrates and Health, which looked at sugars and health outcomes. This was a comprehensive review that evaluated the full range of scientific evidence on these issues. The report did not find consumption of sugars, in and of itself, caused heart disease, Type 2 diabetes or indeed find sugar to be an ‘endocrine disrupting agent’. It did recommend the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages should be minimised and the average population intake of free sugars should not exceed 5% of total dietary energy.

Professor Elliott suggests we should achieve this by looking for alternatives such as stevia, but then raises concerns over a recent study into the plant. Nutrition science points to the need for a balanced, varied diet and a healthy, active lifestyle, rather than switching and swapping single ingredients in and out of our diets.

Dr Alison Boyd, director, Sugar Nutrition UK