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A committee of scientific experts is calling on the government to halve the recommended daily intake of sugar.
Advisers on nutrition say no more than 5% of daily calories should come from added sugar - about seven level teaspoons.
The guidelines are in line with new World Health Organization proposals.
According to existing research, all age groups in the UK consume at least twice this limit.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), which advises Public Health England and other government agencies on nutrition, wants the recommended daily intake of sugar to be halved to reduce obesity risk and improve dental health.
Prof Ian Macdonald, chair of the working group of the committee, said: "The evidence is stark - too much sugar is harmful to health and we all need to cut back.
"The clear and consistent link between a high-sugar diet and conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes is the wake-up call we need to rethink our diet.
"Cut down on sugars, increase fibre and we'll all have a better chance of living longer, healthier lives."
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