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Smart Sugar Use: A New Position Statement from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

The words "too much sugar" written in sugar grains.  Overhead viPodcast Icon SmallDr. John O’Keefe, Director of Knowledge Networks at the Canadian Dental Association spoke with Ms. Christine LeGrand, Senior Knowledge Translation Specialist at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, about a new position statement brought out by the Foundation titled: Sugar, Heart Disease and Stroke.



Listen to the Audio Interview


Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Recommendations

An individual’s total intake of free sugars not to exceed 10% of total daily calorie (energy) intake, and ideally less than 5%.


  • Reduce free sugars consumption
  • Work with organizations like the Heart and Stroke Foundation to influence the government and the food industry to reduce free sugars in the food supply. 
  • Promote and encourage adoption of food policies that create healthier environments in places we live, work and gather such as schools, workplaces, sports clubs, faith centres, and community organizations.

Federal Government

  • Adopt the free sugars thresholds proposed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, specifically, a free sugars intake of less than 10 per cent of total daily energy intake, and ideally less than 5 per cent.
  • Ensure clear and comprehensive nutrition labelling of the free sugars content in the Nutrition Facts table of all packaged foods, grouping all sugars together when listing ingredients on product packaging, and standardized serving sizes on the Nutrition Facts table.
  • Educate Canadians about the risks associated with free sugars consumption through public awareness and education campaigns.
  • Support food literacy among Canadians by implementing programs to improve knowledge and skills required to make informed eating decisions and prepare fresh nutritious meals.


  • Conduct research to quantify free sugars in the Canadian food supply and measure consumption of free sugars among Canadians of various age groups and populations. Use national surveys to continue to quantify free sugars intake over time.
  • Undertake research on behavior change approaches to promote the reduction of free sugars consumption, in particular reduction of sugar-loaded beverage consumption.
  • Use modeling to quantify the economic and public health impacts of policy measures to reduce the intake of free sugars and unhealthy foods.

Health-Related Educational institutions

  • Educate health professionals about the health risks of excess free sugars consumption, how to reduce free sugars intake within the context of a healthy diet and how to counsel their patients/clients to reduce free sugars intake.
  • Read the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Press Release

Additional Resources


LeGrand Christine - 1Christine LeGrand is Senior Knowledge Translation Specialist with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) in Ottawa. Prior to joining HSFC in November 1999, Christine worked as a research assistant in the University of Ottawa Heart Institute’s Prevention and Rehabilitation Centre. Christine is a graduate of the University of Waterloo with a background in health science and epidemiology. She has a strong interest in primary and secondary prevention of cardio- and cerebrovascular diseases and their risk factors, with particular interests in surveillance and public health policy. Christine is a member of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Cardiovascular Disease Advisory Committee and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer’s Prevention Policy Steering Committee.



  1. Alex Galo September 23, 2014

    I’m so glad someone (ironically the Heart and Stroke Foundation and not the CDA) is finally trying to get the message across that we consume WAY too much sugar which has very deleterious health effects in addition to rotting our teeth out. I think the logical next step is to put warning labels on sugary foods and medicines (e.g. pop, gummy bear vitamins) showing photos of bombed out teeth like the cigarette packages show burnt out lungs. Go for it CDA.

  2. E. J. Chithalen September 23, 2014

    Why are terms like “free sugars” used when they are not properly defined. Is this sugar that is within any of the foods and drinks that we ingest? Does it include carbohydrates? Sweeteners? Fruit?
    How does one easily calculate this?


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