When it comes to nutrition, an important part of CEFS and its members’ activities is:
- Sharing knowledge and expertise on sugar.
- Demonstrating that sugar has its place in a balanced diet as part of a healthy, active lifestyle.
- Ensuring an objective, science-based, and informed debate on the effects of sugar on health.
Over recent years a debate has arisen over the amount of sugars people should eat and the potential effects sugars may have on health. CEFS recognises and shares the concerns over obesity and non-communicable diseases, but calls for nutritional recommendations to be made based on scientific evidence, as required by EU law, in order to achieve effective results.
It is CEFS’ view that singling out sugars in regulatory measures is misleading and may further add to the confusion. We contend that:
- To tackle obesity, energy balance is key. Preventing obesity requires balancing calorie intake coming from all foods, including sugars, with energy expenditure. Reducing products’ overall calorie content should therefore be the priority.
Due to their multiple properties in solid foods, sugars must be replaced with other energy-providing ingredients, which often maintain the product’s energy content at a similar level. These substitutions are not helpful to reduce overweight and obesity.
- Any effect of sugar on weight gain is purely due to the consumption of excess calories and not a specific effect of sugar consumption per se.
- Sugars, whether ‘added’ to foods or ‘naturally occurring’ in fruits or vegetables, deliver the same amount of calories (4 kcal/g) and are digested in the same way.
CEFS closely follows the initiatives undertaken in the context of the EU Strategy on Nutrition and those discussed within the Codex Alimentarius (CEFS actively participates as an Observer to the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses). This includes, among others, the issues linked to products reformulation (e.g., EU Framework for National Initiatives on Selected Nutrients), the implementation of Regulation (EC) 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods, the recommendations about sugars intake rendered at national, EU, and international levels, as well as measures taken at national and international levels (e.g., national food taxes, WHO/Codex Alimentarius discussions linked to non-communicable diseases).