HC Deb 05 November 1991 vol 198 cc105-6W
Mr. Spearing

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those diseases, ailments or other disorders, other than tooth decay, recognised by his Department as being solely or primarily caused by consumption of sugar.

Mr. Dorrell

The Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy—COMA—in its 1989 report "Dietary Sugars and Human Disease", identified the consumption of non-milk extrinsic sugars or NMEs, principally sucrose, as the primary cause of tooth decay. It found insufficient evidence to identify dietary sugars as either the sole or primary cause of any other disease or disorder. However, it recommended that intakes of sucrose in excess of about 200g per day should be avoided, since this may be associated in normal adults with elevations of blood cholesterol, glucose and insulin concentrations. It also recommended restriction of intakes of NMEs in the obese and those becoming obese.

COMA further advised that people with diabetes or hypertriglyceridaemia should restrict their intake of NMEs to less than about 25g to 50g per day, unless otherwise instructed by their own physician or dietitian. It also recommended the intensification of research into links between sucrose intake and colo-rectal cancer, renal and biliary calculi and Crohn's Disease as evidence in these areas is inadequate to justify any general dietary recommendations.

COMA's report, "Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom", published in July of this year, endorsed the findings of the 1989 report. Both reports are available in the Library.

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