Sugar: Health Risks and Policy Actions for Healthier Consumption


  • Supat chaiyakul Nutrition Association of Thailand


sugar, Health risk, Policy actions


Sugar is a source of energy and a favorite sweet taste for humans. The unsavory effects of excessive sugar consumption was shown to be related to neurochemical changes in the brain and change the eating behavior from fulfilling energy needs or appetite to become a reward. This leads to sugar addiction as individuals lose control over the frequency and quantity of sugar consumption. High sugar consumption leads to health problems, such as, dental caries, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory diseases, all of which are major global public health concerns. For healthier consumption, the World Health Organization recommends that the intake of free sugars should be reduced to less than 10% of total energy intake. Specific to lowering the risk of dental caries and obesity, the intake of free sugars should be below 5% of total energy intake. In compliance with the WHO recommendations, the Thai government has launched the policy framework for promoting healthier consumption (reduction of sugar, salt and fat). Actions are taken through collaboration and networking among government agencies, non-government agencies, professional/civil society and private sector. For healthy eating, Thailand has developed and promoted food-based dietary guidelines (FBDGs) for Thai people. Key actions related to reducing sugar consumption are, for example, establishing regulatory requirements on radio/television advertisements of unhealthy foods/snacks for children, front-of-pack labeling using GDA system, sugar tax on sweetened beverages, and provision of funds to support activities among youth groups and general public.


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How to Cite

Chaiyakul, S. (2020). Sugar: Health Risks and Policy Actions for Healthier Consumption. Journal of Nutrition Association of Thailand, 55(1), 95–110. Retrieved from



Academic article