Korea announces new dietary guidelines, wages war on sugar

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Related tags: Nutrition, Food

Seoul has issued dietary guidelines aimed to persuade South Koreans to eat less salty, sweet and fatty foods at a time when consumption of these has reached alarming levels by local standards.

The nine-point guidelines were released jointly by the health, agriculture, and food ministries one day after the government declared war against excessive sugar consumption. 

This move followed a recent government study which revealed that almost half of Koreans aged between 3-29 now eat too much sugar after a decade of steadily increasing consumption.

Our goal is to make sure every citizen’s sugar consumption only makes up 10% of their daily calorie intake,​” said one food safety official quoted in the local media. 

The food ministry will now require manufacturers of snacks, processed foods and beverages to display the amount of sugar contained in products on their packaging. Other measures include the distribution of government-certified, low-sugar recipes to restaurants and households.

As well as advising young people to drink water instead of sugary drinks, the new dietary guidelines also encourage Koreans to eat breakfast and have more frequent meals with their family. 

The proportion of meals that Koreans eat with their families has dropped from 76% to 60% over the last decade, according to a national health survey.

At the same time, official figures show that Korea’s average daily alcohol intake increased from 81 grams per person in 2005 to 125 grams in 2014. 

The guidelines also advise Koreans to eat more nutritious foods, including rice, whole grain, fruits and dairy products, as well as meat, fish, eggs and beans—especially locally grown agricultural products. 

They also call on people to be more active activities and exercise, and pay more attention to hygiene to prevent food-borne illnesses. 

Related topics: Policy, Asian tastes, South Asia

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