The contribution of sugar towards chronic disease is more relevant to developed countries than to the developing world (Nature 482, 27–29; 2012). In Asia, for example, up to 10% of the population is obese and/or diabetic (see go.nature.com/qmmoha), even though the daily energy contribution from sugar is less than 837 kilojoules per person. It is more likely that a high consumption of starch-based foods is to blame for this statistic (see go.nature.com/2hoimi).
Overconsumption of foods that have a high glycaemic index (that trigger a rapid and sharp increase in blood glucose), such as wheat, potatoes and certain types of rice, also contributes to obesity and diabetes. Emphasis on sugar alone is therefore too narrow a basis for devising policies to curb these problems.