The recommended daily intake of sugar should be halved, according to experts.

In a bid to cut tooth decay and obesity, government advisers are expected to recommend that no more than five per cent of daily calories should come from added sugar – about seven level teaspoons.

The previous recommendation was 10 per cent – but the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition says that most people consume even more than that.

Sugar makes up 12 per cent of an average adult’s and 15 per cent of an average teenager’s calories in the UK, so drastic dietary changes would be needed to achieve the new limit.

The new guidance would mean that even drinking a single can of coke would put you over the daily limit, as they typically contain about nine teaspoons of sugar.

Other foods with high sugar levels include cereals, fruit juice, yoghurt and ketchup.

Typical sugar amounts include:

  • Mars Bar – 6.5 teaspoons
  • All Bran Honey & Oats bar – 4.5 teaspoons
  • Cornflakes – 2 teaspoons
  • Muller Corner HealthBalance Tropical Crunch – 4 teaspoons
  • 330ml can of Irn Bru – 7.5 teaspoons
  • Heinz Baked Beans 415g tin – 2 teaspoons

The British Dental Association is now launching an online petition to David Cameron, inviting both health professionals and patients to lend support to the SACN’s proposals.

Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA, said: “We have an historic opportunity here to end Britain’s addiction to sugar. The government now has the evidence and a clear duty to send the strongest possible signal to the food industry, that while added sugar might be helping their sales, it is hurting their customers.

“Tooth decay remains the number one reason for hospital admissions among young children. By halving recommended sugar intake we could start bringing down the multi-million pound bill we all pay for expanding waistlines and sick mouths.

“If David Cameron wants to give some meaning to his pledges on prevention he can start today, by finally acknowledging the huge burden sugar is placing on the NHS.”