The American Beverage Association (ABA) has hit back at new US dietary recommendations, claiming that they lack scientific basis.

The ABA accused the recommendations, released on Thursday by the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans advisory committee, of going beyond their remit by calling for taxes on sugar to help curb obesity. “The committee does not have the authority to make such recommendations, nor the scientific evidence or expertise to back up its recommendations,” the ABA said.

Last week's 571-page report urged Americans to limit their sugar intake to no more than 10% of their individual daily calories because of its link to obesity and chronic disease. According to the New York Times, it was the first time the committee, which issues guidelines every five years, has called for this reduction.

However, the ABA said restricting one food or food group is not the best approach for achieving calorie balance or maintaining a healthy weight.

“As with any other source of calories, sugar-sweetened beverages can be part of an overall diet. Moderation and balance are key,” it added.

Thursday's recommendations are not the committee's final guidelines but are now open for public comment for 45 days. They will then be used as the basis for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which is used by government agencies.