UN health agency points to solid evidence backing its call to reduce

The World Health Organization (WHO) says intake of ‘free’ sugars – monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose or table sugar) – should make up less than 10 per cent of daily energy intake, while a reduction below five per cent of energy intake per day would provide additional benefits.“We have solid evidence that keeping intake of free sugars to less than 10 per cent of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity and tooth decay,” said, Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development. “Making policy changes to support this will be key if countries are to live up to their commitments to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases.”The WHO’s recommendations are based on evidence showing that adults who consume less sugar have lower body weight and that increasing the amount of sugars in the diet is associated with a weight increase. It also shows that children with the highest intakes of sugar-sweetened drinks are more likely to be overweight or obese than children with a low intake of sugar-sweetened drinks. Around the world sugar intake varies, with adult consumption in Europe ranging from about 7-8 per cent of total energy countries like Hungary and Norway, to 16-17 per cent in countries like Spain and the United Kingdom. Children’s intake is much higher, from 12 per cent in countries like Denmark, Slovenia and Sweden, to nearly 25 per cent in Portugal, while setting can also result in variations. Intake in rural South African communities was 7.5 per cent, while for the urban population the figure was 10.3 per cent.The strength and quality of the supporting evidence is such that the WHO says they can be adopted as policy in most situations and they can be used to develop measures to decrease free sugars intake, through public health interventions like food and nutrition labelling, consumer education, regulation of marketing of food and non-alcoholic beverages that are high in free sugars, and fiscal policies targeting foods and beverages that are high in free sugars.The agency first made the recommendation to reduce free sugars intake to less than 10 per cent of total daily energy intake in 1989, with a joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation in 2002 further elaborating the call. The updated guidelines recommend reduction of free sugars below the five per cent mark if possible.The new guidelines do not apply to the sugars in fresh fruits and vegetables, and sugars naturally present in milk, because there is no reported evidence of adverse effects of consuming these sugars, but rather to those added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.Many of those are “hidden” in processed foods that are not usually seen as sweets. For example, 1 tablespoon of ketchup contains around 4 grams (around 1 teaspoon) of free sugars. A single can of sugar-sweetened soda contains up to 40 grams (around 10 teaspoons) of free sugars.Updating the guideline on free sugars intake is part of WHO’s ongoing efforts to update existing dietary goals to prevent non-communicable diseases. The sugars guidelines should be used in conjunction with other nutrient guidelines and dietary goals, in particular those related to fats and fatty acids, including saturated fat and trans-fat. read more

Packers Cobb gets closer to return could help on 3rd downs

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers coach Mike McCarthy appreciates how veteran receiver Randall Cobb excels at doing the little things in practice, such as perfecting his footwork and timing.If Cobb can just get over his hamstring injury, he might be able to help on the field, too, with the Packers desperately trying to keep their longshot playoff hopes alive.Cobb practiced again on Thursday as the Packers get ready to face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.Out since Week 9, Cobb has been limited to just five games this year because of the lingering hamstring injury.His history with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and ability to get open in traffic could help especially in giving the Packers (4-6-1) another target on third down. Green Bay is just 24th in the league on third down conversions (37 per cent).“You go down on a Wednesday of practice, you’re in a unit drill, and you’re kind of at whatever speed you’re going, and he’s out there doing all the little things exactly right,” said McCarthy, who singled out Cobb as a mentor for young receivers.“Well it would be great to get Randall back. I think today will give us some information,” McCarthy said.Looking good as of Thursday, when Cobb was limited for a second straight day.“I think there’s a pretty good chance,” Cobb said. “I think this is the best I felt in a long time, so I’m excited to get back out there.”The versatile Cobb has caught seven of 11 targets on third down this year, averaging 17.9 yards a catch. In his career, Cobb has 125 receptions on 188 targets on third down, averaging 14.2 yards and converting 92 first downs.He worked out before the loss at Minnesota before being held out. Cobb was just a spectator when the Packers converted just 2 of 10 on third down.“Pick up whatever the third and down distance is,” Cobb said when asked about getting better on third down. “That’s all it really comes down to is finding a way to move the sticks. That’s just executing when it comes down to making the plays.”Besides Cobb, the Packers also don’t have Geronimo Allison because of a season-ending groin injury. Tight end Jimmy Graham is trying to play through a thumb injury. That has meant more attention to No. 1 wideout Davante Adams , who is still good enough to have already reached career highs of 1,022 yards on 77 catches. Rookies Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown have had to take more snaps, with mixed results.Rodgers spoke this week about taking some “calculated risks”. Lately, that has meant moving Adams around to different spots; getting running back Aaron Jones the ball in space; and working in Graham.Plus, Rodgers added, “hopefully getting Randall back this week, which would be a big boost for us.”Especially on third downs.“If that means breaking a tackle, making a guy miss or hitting the open man or whatever that is, we’ve got to find a way just to make sure we’re taking care of our jobs,” he said.NOTES: Left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) returned to practice as a limited participant, an encouraging sign after McCarthy said he thought Rodgers’ blind-side protector might focus on rehab on Thursday. It’s important with the Packers getting ready to face Cardinals pass-rusher Chandler Jones (11 sacks). Starting left guard Lane Taylor (quad) was also limited. … Bashaud Breeland (groin) returned to practice, while fellow CB Kevin King (hamstring) was limited for a second straight day. … Graham was limited.___For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFLGenaro C. Armas, The Associated Press read more