Does the 25-gram World Health Organization suggested limit on sugar intake include sugar from fruit juices? Answer: It does.

I recently was thirsty, on a hot day in July, and bought a fruit juice smoothie at a Shopper’s Drug Mart. On rare occasions, I buy such a drink.

I noticed the bottle referred to 57 grams of sugar. The label said, and said it prominently: “No Sugar Added.” I was wondering, at that point, whether the sugar referred to was the same as the sugar that the World Organization (WHO) refers to, when it says that it’s a good idea to keep sugar concentration below 25 grams per day.

I did a web search regarding this topic. I found a March 4, 2015 news release from WHO, the opening paragraphs of which read:

4 MARCH 2015 ¦ GENEVA – A new WHO guideline recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.

Free sugars refer to monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose or table sugar) added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.


Clearly, I did not manage to stay below 25 grams of sugar today, because WHO refers to “free sugars” which includes sugars in fruit juices.

Equally clearly, I have learned something that is useful to know.

I also read related link of interest from WHO: Sugars intake for adults and children: Guideline.

I was interested to note that the above-mentioned link refers to a “natural experiment” during the Second World War, when a particular population sample experienced a marked reduction in free sugars. One of the outcomes of the experiment was that dental cavities were markedly reduced. Or that, at any rate, is what I recall from briefly scanning through the article.

Click here for previous posts about sugar >

It may be noted that advertisements related to sugary drinks of any kind discretely avoid reference to research related to sugar. A person has to find such research on her of his own.

I have included this post in the category that I call “story management.” That’s because the marketing of sugar products (including fruit juices) entails the application of instrumental reason to the task of ensuring that as few people as possible maintain a sugar intake under the 25-gram limit that WHO recommends.


A Jan. 26, 2017 Atlantic article is entitled: “The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer’s: A high-carb diet, and the attendant high blood sugar, are associated with cognitive decline.


1 reply
  1. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    A Nov. 12, 2021 CBC article is entitled: “Which coffee chain drink has as much sugar as 2 cups of ice cream? Marketplace compares sugar in Starbucks, McCafe and Tim Hortons beverages.”

    An excerpt reads:

    You probably wouldn’t eat a chocolate bar on your way to work, but depending on your morning beverage of choice, you could be getting a similar amount of sugar in your favourite coffee shop drink.

    To learn more about how much of the sweet stuff Canadians are sipping on, Marketplace reviewed online nutrition information for some popular drinks available at coffee shop chains across the country and found some contain a surprising amount of sugar.

    “I think people are addicted to sweet, and it’s leading to a health-care crisis,” said hepatologist and gastroenterologist Dr. Supriya Joshi, who believes most people have no idea how much sugar is really in their daily dose of caffeine.


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