Food manufacturers are looking for ways to cut back on sugar and carbs to help keep their products healthy.
Here’s what you need to know about that.
A number of products are being tweaked to reduce sugar and add a healthy dose of fibre, and many are also designed to reduce the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
A new report published by the Australian Medical Association found that while the use of sugar in food and drink is on the rise, a healthy diet should include more fibre, antioxidants and whole grains.
It also found that the average person consumes around 200 grams of added sugar per day, while the recommended daily intake for children and adults is less than 30 grams.
The study also found a higher percentage of Australians are currently consuming too much sugar than they should, as the average serving size for a fruit and vegetable is around two to three servings.
However, Dr John Riddell, chair of the Australian Dietary Guidelines Advisory Group, said there were still areas for improvement.
“We need to make sure that we’re not just trying to limit the amount of sugar we eat, but that we are also not trying to get rid of the fibre,” he said.
“Fibre is a good source of energy for the body and the sugar that we consume is a waste product.”
The new guidelines recommend that the daily recommended daily allowance (RDA) for a single serving of fruit and vegetables should be reduced to 30 grams, with vegetables and pulses to 20 grams, and meat to 10 grams.
“Our recommendations will ensure that the recommended RDA is achievable,” Dr Riddock said.
“There are lots of foods and drinks out there that people are consuming that are still providing more than the RDA, which means there are plenty of products that are providing more sugar than that.”
There are also issues around how much sugar we are eating and how many servings we should consume.
Dr Riddells said the recommendations for people to reduce their sugar intake were based on an “individualised approach”.
“If you want to be healthier and more active, then you need more fibre and less sugar,” he explained.
“If the sugar you’re consuming is not that high, then it’s not really an issue.”
In addition to the new recommendations, the Australian College of Nutrition (ACCN) also released a report that found it was time to reconsider what we consume, as we continue to change the way we think about health.
Dr Matthew Paine, a clinical nutritionist and consultant for the ACCN, said: “The problem with eating too much is that you don’t have a good idea of what your sugar intake is.”
“The problem is when you eat too much of a thing, it’s really hard to know exactly what you’re eating.”
The ACCN’s recommendations include a “sugar balance” that aims to balance the intake of carbohydrates and fats with protein and fibre, which are all considered “essential nutrients” and are found in many foods.
The report also recommended a “healthy snack” that included a mixture of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
“Sugars have a very long shelf life, so it’s important to remember that you can get your sugar fix in the morning, and you need some fibre in the afternoon,” Dr Paine said.
However Dr Pannell cautioned against the “sugars for sugar” argument.
“It’s important for people not to over-eat sugars and to try and reduce the amount they eat,” he added.
“This can have some positive effects, like reducing appetite and helping to reduce blood sugar.
But remember that sugars are only the start, and we need fibre, as well as other nutrients, to be healthy.”
Foods that contain more than five grams of sugar per serving are also on the list of foods that should be minimised.
Dr Pannel said it was important to consider the health risks associated with consuming more sugar, and said it could lead to diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
“Some people may be less likely to drink sugar-sweetened beverages because they are worried about their health,” he noted.
“There are a number of studies that suggest sugar-based drinks cause more damage than regular beverages.”
The report recommends people avoid eating more than six meals a day, and consume two meals per day.
“I think that’s probably a little too much,” Dr Paul Smith, a health scientist and author of the report, told the ABC.
“When we’re trying to be a healthy lifestyle, we should be trying to eat a little bit more than that.
We should be eating more fruits and some vegetables, as opposed to a big bag of sugar.”
Dr Smith said it’s vital to limit your intake of sugars in food, as it can have a number health impacts, including diabetes.
“The sugar content of foods in our food is pretty high, but it’s still very important that people limit their intake of sugar and carbohydrates,” he told the BBC.
“In addition, we need to understand the health benefits of our foods