Get sugar smart this Spring
Posted on: 11 May 2017
Sugar has been in the spotlight recently – particularly how much sugar is contained within our food and therefore the high amount of sugar we eat on a daily basis.
Recommendations suggest we should eat no more than seven teaspoons of ‘free’ sugar a day for adults and 5-6 teaspoons for children. Free sugar is added sugar, and things like dried fruit and fruit juices. However, on average adults are eating twice this amount and children eating three times as much.
This is a problem, as high sugar intake increases the risk of many health conditions, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.
Sugary foods can be tasty and are great to enjoy as a treat, but it has become the norm to eat high sugar foods on a regular basis. We know that sugary drinks are a big contributor to the problem, with some drinks containing up to 60g of sugar.
So how can we reduce the amount of sugar we consume?
If you’re worried about your sugar intake, or that of your children, here are a few ideas to help reduce your sugar levels.
Always read the label:
- Sugar is listed as many different names, including: maltose, glucose, dextrose, lactose, corn syrup, rice syrup, malt syrup, honey, dextrin, ethyl maltol, maple syrup, evaporated cane juice…the list goes on!
- The higher up the ingredients list sugar is, the more the product contains.
- Use traffic light labelling to choose low sugar options. Any food higher than 22.5g of sugar per 100g is considered high! For drinks it is half as much, with over 11.25g of sugar per 100g being high.
Consider how you are influenced by marketing and promotional techniques.
- Try to avoid tempting promotions on sugary foods e.g. buy one get one free, meal deals with sugary options.
- Some low fat products are marketed as healthy, but can contain high amounts of added sugar
- Consider smaller portion sizes, so sugary food can still be enjoyed but in a healthier way.
- Cut out sugary drinks. These do not register with your body in the same way food does, meaning it is much easier to consume more sugar and calories in one go.
For more tips and personalised support, visit the local OneSmallStep service at www.onesmallstep.org.uk or call 01392 908139.
Although we can all do our best to reduce our sugar intake, we need a supportive food environment.
Sugar Smart Exeter is an initiative which aims to tackle sugar in Exeter and increase availability of healthy options across the city, with the support of Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation and Sustain. The campaign will support food and drink outlets to make Sugar Smart pledges, e.g. providing low sugar options, healthier price promotions and reducing marketing and advertising of sugary foods.
Local organisations have already been getting involved, by promoting the Sugar Smart message. Active Devon have pledged to support the campaign with Sugar Smart bake offs and advocating Sugar Smart action to organisations.
Exeter City Football Club have also pledged their support and are providing healthier food and drink, reducing sugary food and drinks and funding Sugar Smart education and healthy living activities for children.
Get involved in Sugar Smart Exeter by visiting the website.