A single can of sugar-sweetened soda can contain as much as 10 teaspoons of sugar, according to the WHO, more than the maximum recommended daily intake of 6 teaspoons of free sugar[1].

There is increasing evidence that sugar might now be a main cause of obesity, while previously, dietary fat had been the main culprit. Recent research studies have established a link between sugar consumption and metabolic syndrome diseases of which obesity is a common visible sign.

The best evidence comes from the World Health Organization. Although those research studies do not yet demonstrate a direct causal link, there is no denying that the large increase in sugar consumption has contributed. The WHO concludes: ‘‘The evidence for a link between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and childhood obesity is compelling. Further evidence continues to emerge.’’[2] 

In 2015, the WHO updated its sugar intake recommendation: in both adults and children it still recommends reducing the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake; however it is now suggesting a stricter reduction to below 5% for additional health benefits.

In all geographic regions the population consumes more added sugars than recommended by this new guideline.

In 2016, the WHO urged all countries to adopt a tax on sugary drinks, proposed to curb the soaring obesity rate in children worldwide. Many countries have introduced sugar taxes. We expect more governments and national health agencies to crack down through tightened rules and standards, as well as consumer awareness on sugar rising steadily.

As responsible investors, Candriam assesses the positioning of investee companies across several categories of factors, health and wellness among them. Through our investment we not only capture growth and profit opportunities to food companies but also address the nutrition Sustainable Development Goals –

SDG 3 aims to 'Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages

  • 3.4 By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being
  • Measured through 3.4.1 indicator : Mortality rate attributed to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory disease

The UN Sustainable Development Goals address nutrition. Not just Goal 2, 'Zero Hunger'. Obviously…', and more, considering how intertwined many of these steps to achieving the SDGs are.