March 4, 2015 (Toronto) – In response to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) announcement regarding their guideline on “Sugars intake for adults and children” earlier today, the Canadian Beverage Association (CBA) issued the following statement:
The Canadian Beverage Association (CBA) fully supports efforts by the WHO to reduce non-communicable diseases and promote active and healthy lifestyles in communities worldwide. The CBA believes it is critical that policymakers ensure dietary recommendations are founded on the totality of evidence-based science to address important health challenges such as obesity.
The CBA notes that consumption of free (i.e. “added”) sugars in Canada is estimated to be 10.7% of total energy intake[i], in line with the WHO recommendation to keep intake to 10% of total energy. This is well below the suggested maximum of 25% of total energy intake as set out in the Institute of Medicine’s “Dietary Reference Intakes” that form the basis of Canada’s dietary guidance.
The CBA is disappointed WHO made the conditional recommendation of “a further reduction of the intake of free sugars to below 5% of total energy intake”, as it does not reflect scientific agreement on the totality of evidence. In fact, the WHO recommendation is based on three studies about sugar consumption and dental caries that were judged to be of “very low scientific quality” by the researchers selected by WHO to conduct the evidence review.
The CBA encourages all parties to focus on what the WHO has clearly defined as the primary cause of obesity: an imbalance between calories in (those consumed from all foods and beverages) and calories out (those burned through physical activity).
The CBA welcomes the opportunity to work with the WHO, all levels of Canadian government, and other stakeholders to pursue effective and practical solutions to health issues. Solutions should focus on collective efforts across government, civil society and industry that promote balanced diets, and regular physical activity. CBA and its members will continue to offer innovative ways to help Canadian consumers achieve calorie balance through a wide choice of beverage options, including smaller portion sizes, no-and low-calorie beverages, and transparent, fact-based nutrition information.
The Canadian Beverage Association is the national trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute the majority of non-alcoholic refreshment beverages consumed in Canada. Over 58,000 individuals are employed directly, indirectly and through induced jobs in the Canadian beverage industry.
[i] Brisbois TD, Marsden S, Anderson GH, Sievenpiper JL. “Estimated intakes and sources of total and added sugars in the Canadian diet”. Nutrients. 2014;6(5):1899-1912.