The World Health Organisation may formally recommend that people cut their sugar intake by half, a paper reportedly shows.
Current guidelines say sugar should not make up more than 10 per cent of the calories in our diet, but a draft paper published by the British media suggests that could soon be cut to 5 per cent.
Many obesity and health experts say such a change cannot come quickly enough, given skyrocketing obesity rates across the globe.
"Our dieting patterns have changed, there's a lot more added sugar in our food," said Rob Moodie, Professor of Public Health at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health.
"Certainly, (sugar is) associated with obesity, with heart disease, obviously with tooth decay... and obviously obesity is then related to diabetes as well."
Experts warn that there will be a concerted campaign against any changes to sugar intake recommendations from the powerful processed food industry.
"It becomes a giant food fight," Mr Moodie said.
"They're obviously against any form of regulation and always have been and are fighting this with us."
He says there will be opposition locally from the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) and giant transnational companies across the globe.
"They've been major contributors to changes in our diets, sales are doing well, (they've) made enormous amounts of money. That's fine, that's their business," he said.
"But now it's time for our health, but also for the health of our healthcare system, because fundamentally we won't be able to manage the problems associated with over-consumption of salts and sugar."
The AFGC, which represents the packaged food, drink and grocery industry, says consumer behaviour is already changing without a decree from WHO.
"The extent that the overall sugar consumption of the population from soft drinks is in decline," said deputy chief executive Dr Geoffrey Annison.
"If you look at soft drinks in particular, the consumption of diet and low-cal soft drinks has been increasing greatly over the last few years.
"The industry has been responding and we'll continue to respond and produce the products that consumers want."
Dr Annison denies that processed food companies would fight back at any move to cut sugar intake recommendations.
"The processed food industry has always responded to advances in nutritional science," he said.
"For a long time we've had polyunsaturated margarines, we've had high-fibre breakfast cereals and low-fat dairy products."
Director Emeritus of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Professor Paul Zimmet, says while it would be good to see WHO take leadership on this issue, it will not fix the problem of obesity.
"They're all the issues of globalisation and economic development and to a certain extent, economic underdevelopment," he said.
Dr Zimmet says a mother's diet during pregnancy, for example, can increase the risk of that baby developing obesity and diabetes and heart disease in adulthood.
"WHO needs to come out yes, strongly on this issue, but not to ignore the other important contributors to the global obesity crisis," he said.
A WHO spokesman has confirmed it is conducting some work in relation to sugar guidelines.
He says there will be public consultation, but he does not know when any new guidelines might be adopted.