Oral Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting

Invited talk: Sugar Free Societies: How do we get there and will it be worth it in the end? (#19)

Kieron Rooney 1
  1. University of Sydney, Lidcombe, NSW, Australia

Sugar is out! Haven’t you heard? In recent years, the recommendation from national dietary guidelines and the World Health Organisation has been to limit the intake of foods and drinks with added sugars. And while some in the community are yet to be convinced that regulating sugar intake is worth all the fuss, amid the cries of Nanny Statists and Fun Police momentum gathers for public health to intervene in our sugar sweetened societies.

Sugar sweetened beverages in particular have been targeted on account that they provide no nutritional benefit for an individual, can bring significant risk of harm yet dominate the beverage choices in our environment. But, will public health make the public healthy and can the strategies they have on standby deliver the health outcomes the public may be expecting? A rich collection of evidence from successful population based interventions is building across the globe upon which this question can be answered.

During this talk, two core themes will be explored. In the first instance, the various strategies that could be implemented for the regulation of added sugars in our food supply will be discussed within the context of why we should focus on added sugar.  Whether or not weight gain (or obesity) is the strongest platform upon which to build support for sugar regulation will be considered as well as some of the typical arguments encountered opposing those that attempt to make change.  Following this the theme of success will be explored in consideration of the evidence from sugar withdrawal studies. Specifically, what outcome (or outcomes) will we base the success of any intervention that seeks to reduce the consumption of added sugars through regulation.