SUGAR intake should be cut in half to fight the obesity epidemic, the World Health Organisation has recommended.
The WHO's current guidelines claim it should make up less than 10pc of total energy per day for adults and children.
But in proposals out for consultation, the body argues that people should aim to reduce this to less than 5pc to gain "additional health benefits".
Dr Francesco Branca, director for nutrition for health and development at the WHO, said: "Five per cent is the ideal target and 10pc the more realistic one."
The recommendation follows studies highlighting the danger of "hidden" sugars in sweets and fizzy drinks, many of which contain 10 teaspoons of sugar.
To combat the growing problem, the UK's chief medical officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, yesterday suggested introducing a sugar tax.
She said being overweight had become "normalised" in Britain, and called on MPs to regulate the industry to protect people against the dangers of excess calorie consumption.
"We need to be strong and prepared to regulate," she added. "I think the science is such that we will find sugar is addictive.
"We haven't managed to get over to the public how calorie-packed fruit juices, smoothies, colas and carbonated drinks are. We need a big education campaign (saying) one is fine, but not lots of them.
"We may need to move to some sort of sugar tax, but I hope we don't have to."
Asked if prime minister David Cameron was prepared to bring in such a law, his official spokesman said: "His view is that the significant things the government is doing are the right way to be going about this.
"The Government is working with retailers in order to ensure that people have the information so they can make the best decisions.
"What we are doing is working with the industry to reduce levels of salt, to remove some artificial fats, to reduce calorie content and improve labelling.
"I think it's absolutely right that a social responsibility approach is at the heart of this."