Do You Know How Much Sugar Is Hiding In Your Food ? (Part 1 of 2)

A committee of scientists has advised the government to halve the current recommended daily intake of sugar.Nutrition experts say no more than 5% of daily calories should come from added sugar – about seven teaspoons. Unfortunately,most people consume at least TWICE this amount.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), which advises Public Health England and other government agencies on nutrition, wants the recommended daily intake of sugar to be halved to reduce obesity risk and improve dental health. Prof Ian Macdonald, chair of the working group of the committee, said: “The evidence is stark – too much sugar is harmful to health and we all need to cut back. “The clear and consistent link between a high-sugar diet and conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes is the wake-up call we need to rethink our diet. “Cut down on sugars, increase fibre and we’ll all have a better chance of living longer, healthier lives.” Free sugars The guidelines, which apply from the age of two, are in line with new World Health Organization proposals. Prof Judith Buttriss of the British Nutrition Foundation said the type of sugar targeted was known as free sugar  : all the different types of sugar in the diet, excluding the sugars that are found naturally in fruit and milk. According to health experts, 5% of daily energy intake is the equivalent of 19g or five sugar cubes for children aged four to six, 24g or six sugar cubes for children aged seven to 10, and 30g or seven sugar cubes for those aged 11 and over, based on average diets. The main sources of sugar in the diet are sweetened drinks and cereal, confectionery, fruit juice, and sugar added at the table. A single can of fizzy drink contains about nine teaspoons of sugar.  

 Analysis: Adam Brimelow, BBC Health Correspondent

It is one thing setting out what people should aspire to eat, quite another making it happen. Achieving the expected threshold for added sugar – no more than 5% of calories consumed – will be a challenge for government, industry and the public.

The health arguments are compelling, but will people want to change their eating patterns, and will they be able to afford it ? The food industry says it is already working to cut added sugars. Some health campaigners say clearer labelling will be needed so people can see at a glance how many teaspoons of sugar have gone into each portion. In Part 2 we shall be continuing on this theme,including issues such as :

  • sugar traps and the dangers of hidden sugar
  • spotting high-sugar foods
  • remedies to counter this hidden sugar dilemna

However,for now let’s conclude part-1 with some ‘illustrative’ recommendations for you and your family:

Adult: under 30g free sugars per day
Food Free sugars
Breakfast Scrambled eggs, grilled tomato, 2 slices of wholemeal toast, 150ml orange juice 12.9g (all in the juice)
Lunch Thin crust Margherita pizza with added vegetables, side salad 2.9g
Snack Flapjack slice 11.6g
Dinner Wholewheat spaghetti Bolognese, 175ml glass of red wine 0.4g
Dessert Fruit salad 0g
Total 27.8g
Source: British Nutrition Foundation
Child age 4-6: under 19g free sugars per day (24g for child age 7-10)
Food Free sugars
Breakfast Plain children’s cereal (30g portion) 3.5g
Snack Piece of fresh fruit 0g
Lunch Tuna sandwich 4g
Snack Carrots with hummus 0.3g
Dinner Pasta carbonara 5g
Dessert Small flavoured yoghurt 6g
Drinks Water or milk 0g
Total 19g
Source Action on Sugar

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