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ROME - People should get no more than 10 percent of their calories from sugar, eat more fruit and vegetables and exercise moderately to cut risks of chronic disease, two United Nations agencies said on Monday.
A new report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) gave advice to governments on diet and lifestyle to combat increases in chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancers, diabetes and obesity.
"Carbohydrates, the report suggests, should provide the bulk of energy requirements -- between 55 and 75 percent of daily intake, and free sugars should remain beneath 10 percent," the FAO and WHO said in a statement.
"Protein should make up a further 10-15 percent of calorie intake, and salt should be restricted to less than five grammes a day," it added.
The burden of chronic diseases is rapidly increasing worldwide, FAO and WHO said.
In 2001, chronic diseases contributed some 59 percent of the 56.5 million total reported deaths in the world and 46 percent of the global burden of disease, they said.
"This expert report contains the best currently available scientific evidence on the relationship of diet, nutrition and physical activity to chronic diseases," said Ricardo Uauy, professor of public health nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who helped prepare the report.
The report recommended:
- reducing energy-rich foods high in saturated fat and sugar;
- cutting the amount of salt and increasing the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables in the diet;
- undertaking moderate physical activity for at least an hour a day.
Energy consumed each day should match energy expenditure, the report said.
Evidence cited in the report suggests that excessive consumption of energy-rich foods can encourage weight gain, according to the agencies. The report calls for a limit in the consumption of saturated fats, sugars and salt in the diet, noting they are often found in snacks, processed foods and drinks.