You're viewing our new website - find out more


Scottish Dietary Goals

Published: 20 Mar 2016 00:01

More stringent guidelines for sugar and fibre.

Consumers should try to eat even less sugar and more fibre, according to revised Scottish Dietary Goals, published today.

Scottish ministers have made changes to the goals based on evidence and advice from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and Food Standards Scotland.

The new guidelines match SACN recommendations, issued last year, that a person's diet should consist of no more than five per cent free sugars. This is a 50 per cent reduction from the previous recommended level.

This equates to roughly 30g, or six teaspoons of sugar per day for a typical adult, and less for children. Free sugars are those added to food, or those naturally occurring in fruit juices, honey and syrups. Eating too much sugar can lead to health problems including obesity and diabetes.

The new goals recommend that people eat 30g of fibre a day – a 25 per cent increase on previous levels. Fibre helps to prevent heart disease, diabetes and weight gain, improve digestive health and can reduce the risk of some cancers.

There is also a new goal that carbohydrates should make up around 50 per cent of a person's total energy intake.

Earlier this week, Food Standards Scotland launched the new Eatwell Guide, which replaces the previous 'eatwell plate', and shows people in Scotland how they can achieve a healthy balanced diet.

Maureen Watt, Minister for Public Health, said:

"The Scottish Dietary Goals have always been based on scientific evidence, and given the latest clear advice from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, and Food Standards Scotland, we have decided to amend them accordingly.

"Despite some improvements in recent years, obesity levels are still too high in Scotland. Also, in common with most of western Europe, we have seen continued increases in the levels of Type 2 diabetes. It's clear that, as a nation, we need to improve our diet and think more about reducing our sugar intake and eating more fibre.

"The Scottish Government is taking a range of steps to help people to eat more healthily. We are working with the food and drink industry to encourage them to change offer healthier choices and change recipes. We are running campaigns like Eat Better Feel Better to promote healthy eating, as well as spending over £10m in the four years to 2016 on projects including the Healthy Living Award, the Healthy Living Programme and Community Food and Health Scotland."

Ross Finnie, Chair of Food Standards Scotland, said

"The Scottish Dietary Goals provide an important benchmark for population dietary improvement. Food Standards Scotland is an evidence based organisation, with a statutory role to improve the extent to which the public have diets which are conducive to good health.

"In January, we recommended a broad set of measures to bolster progress towards achieving the dietary goals and to address the problems of poor diet and obesity that we face in Scotland. These recommendations include actions on food and drink promotions; consideration of a sugar tax; product reformulation and portion size reductions, together with measures to educate and empower consumers to take actions to improve their own diets.

"Making progress towards the Scottish Dietary Goals requires commitment and collective action from consumers and industry. Food Standards Scotland will continue to offer leadership and coordination to bring about real change for Scotland."


The full revised Scottish Dietary Goals can be read here:

The new Eatwell Guide is available at: