In case you haven’t heard, the latest buzz on sugar is that the Government advisory group – The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) – has made an official recommendation that the UK public should consume no more than 5% of calories in the form of free sugars.
In all the media commotion on this topic, another really important message from SACN’s report seemed to get lost. Their message on fibre.
As well as a reduction in sugar, SACN’s report also recommends that in the UK we need to up our intake of dietary fibre.
Dietary fibre is defined as:
“All carbohydrates that are naturally integrated components of food that are neither digested nor absorbed in the small intestine and have a degree of polymerisations of three or more monomeric units, plus lignin.”
Simple, right? 😉
The new recommendations:
The updated Dietary Reference Value for dietary fibre for an adult population average is 30g/day.
N.B. The previous recommendations for dietary fibre were 18g/day. However, the new recommendation is defined using a different method of dietary fibre analysis called – the Association of Official Analytical Chemist’s (AOAC) method. If the old recommendations had used this same method of analysis, previous dietary recommendations would have been around 23-24g of dietary fibre/day.
Recommendations for other age groups:
How do we meet these recommendations?
The British Nutrition Foundation have suggested that, given current UK intakes, these new recommendations would require a 50% increase in fibre intake for men and a 75% increase for women, and even more for those on a low income who tend to have a lower intake of fibre.
However, the new fibre recommendations can be met by following a well-balanced diet and emphasising the importance of the 5-a-day message, as well as the need to select fibre-rich foods for both meals and snacks. Which basically means following current healthy eating guidelines.
In their report, SACN advises that the 30g could be achieved by consuming ALL of the following on a daily basis:
- five portions of fruit and veg
- two slices of wholemeal bread
- a portion of high fibre breakfast cereal
- a baked potato and
- a portion of whole wheat pasta
For those of us that eat well already, this doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch, but it’s possibly a very different story for those who aren’t used to following a well-balanced diet…
Have your say – is 30g/day feasible for the UK population?