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Published on : Jan 08, 2016

Of late, vast research studies have uncovered the ill-effects of sugar-sweetened beverages on human health, especially on the health of young people. A lot of controversy has surrounded this issue in the recent past. Looking at the numerous ill-effects of a variety of highly popular sugar-sweetened drinks such as soft drinks, sports drinks, flavored juices, energy drinks, etc., including the increased chances of obesity, heart diseases, tooth decay, and type 2 diabetes, many states in the U.S. have leveraged extra excise taxes on many of these products hoping that it would reduce their consumption. The idea has also fairly worked over the last year and the overall consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been negatively affected.

Now, the U.S. government has issued new dietary guidelines for its population with a view to control the national obesity crisis, according to health advocates. The guidelines have suggested for the very first time that consumers should limit the intake of added sweeteners to a specific level – less than 10% of recommended intake for daily basis of about 2,000 calories. Presently, an average American intakes nearly 270 calories from sweeteners every day, which is nearly 13% of the daily recommended calories for humans.

If the guidelines are diligently followed by the American population, they would cut the intake of corn and sugar syrup by over 2 mn tonnes per year. This would come as a blow for the sweetener industry that is already facing immense criticism owing to negative health effects of excess sugar. 
Currently, the overall national demand for sweeteners by the food and beverages industry is nearly 19 mn tonnes. On that basis, a reduction of nearly 20% calories brought-in by sugar consumed by humans could lead to a reduction of over 3.7 mn tonnes – quite small as compared to the global use of over 186 mn tonnes of sweeteners.

However, health advocates point out that the guidelines will be followed by only a few Americans. But even the projected decline of this significant level comes as a bad news for the global sugar and sweeteners industry. With a deeper decline coming from one of the world’s top five consumers could also have a negative effect on sugar prices on a global front that have fallen by half in the past five years.