Here’s a scary home truth – children today are having eight excess sugar cubes a day (that’s 2,800 a year), according to the latest data from Public Health England.
By the age of 10, many kids have consumed a whopping 18 years’ worth of sugar. And further data shows that teens fare no better, with many believed to drink a ‘bathtub full’ of sugary drinks each year.
“Sugar brings with it a whole plethora of health problems. Not only does sugar have a huge effect on our teeth, but there is strong evidence linking sugar consumption to obesity and type 2 diabetes,” says Dr Emma Derbyshire, public health nutritionist.
That’s why the focus from Public Health England’s campaign, Change4Life, is on helping families to make healthier choices and sensible sugar swaps. But what could you be doing to reduce your family’s sugar intake? Dr Emma reveals 10 ways you can cut down on consumption today.
1. Ditch the sugary drinks
Sugar-sweetened drinks are being targeted from all basis when it comes to obesity. Sugar tax and campaigns to switch from high sugar drinks are all around us. Swapping a regular Coke, which has seven teaspoons of sugar and 140 calories per 330ml can, for a Diet Coke, which has no sugar and no calories per 330ml, will cut seven teaspoons of sugar and 140 calories. Choose diet drinks and low-calorie cordials or stick with refreshing tap water.
2. Cereal offenders
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but some cereals are almost 50 percent sugar – and many children and adults sprinkle extra sugar on to less sweetened cereals. Granola is often seen as a healthier option because it is more likely to contain natural sugars such as honey but, when it comes to calories, these can still add up. Switch to low-sugar cereals and, if you must add sugar, try a sprinkle of low-calorie granulated sweetener.
The most obvious place for high sugar is in sweet treats and desserts. If you have a sugar craving, try swapping your usually sugary dessert or indulgent yoghurt for natural yoghurt and fruit with some Hermesetas Liquid, which will satisfy your sweet tooth without the sugar intake – and help towards your 5-a-day.
4. Snack attack
How many of us crave a little bit of chocolate? Probably most of us. Instead of reaching for chocolate, which has around 240 calories per 45g bar, you can make Energy Chocolate Balls using sweetener, which have half the calories for the same size serving. If this is a twice-a-week treat, the swap could save you 6,240 calories and help you shed almost 2lbs.
5. Recipe ideas
It’s all well and good wanting to cut down or minimise sugar intake, but there’s hidden sugar in lots of foods. And what do we do when we really want something sweet? Check out hermesetas.co.uk for delicious [low sugar] recipes including cakes, desserts and even ice cream.
6. Check labels
Products are not always what they seem. When shopping, be sure to check product labels to see if there is any hidden sugar. Also, check out the traffic light system on food packaging. Anything in red for sugars will mean that it is more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g. Remember, an adult and teenager’s maximum intake is 30g a day!
7. Tea & coffee
There’s nothing better than sitting down with a goodold cup of tea or coffee. Sugar is best avoided but, if you do add sugar to your drink of choice, swap it for an alternative such as hermesetas mini sweeteners (£2, Tesco). Assuming you add one teaspoon of sugar, and have two cups per day, this swap will cut 7,280 calories in six months.