Following the results of a recent government study showing that almost half of young Koreans aged 3-29 are eating too much sugar, the South Korean government is going to war on sweets.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said that the goal is to “make sure every citizen’s sugar consumption only makes up 10 percent of their daily calorie intake.”
“For example, if an individual’s daily calorie intake is 2,000 calories, he or she should only consume 200 calories worth of sugar – which is about 16 sugar cubes,” the ministry said in a statement.
Sugar intake is relatively high in South Korea, says the ministry, accounting for more than 10 percent of daily caloric intake.
The policy measures come on the heels of a study released by the World Health Organization showing that the number of diabetes patients has quadrupled globally, from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
High blood sugar levels are also responsible for the death of 3.7 million people globally each year, according to the report.
The new policies in Korea will require all local food-makers to openly share their products’ sugar levels, distributing government-certified, low-sugar recipes to restaurants and households while also placing a ban on schoolchildren from consuming certain food products such as carbonated drinks and others with high sugar levels.
Along with education plans for adults and children, by 2018 all soft drinks are to be labeled as “high-calorie, low-nutrition foods”, and cookies and pastries are to have warning labels by 2020.
The ministry data says that more than 90 percent of South Koreans ages 65 or older suffer from chronic illness, including diabetes.
“Our research shows that those whose sugar consumption from processed foods accounted for more than 10 percent of their daily caloric intake had a 39 percent higher chance of developing obesity, and 66 percent higher chance of developing high blood pressure,” a ministry official said.