Is your sugar intake sickeningly sweet? A surprising amount of us exceed our recommended daily allowance and are completely unaware of doing so.

The National Sugar Smart Campaign

Sugar Smart is a campaign run by Jamie Oliver and Sustain. They work to raise awareness of the dangers of excessive sugar consumption and reduce the amount we consume.

How much sugar is too much?

Experts have stated current sugar consumption needs to be halved to reduce obesity, diabetes and dental decay.

  • Sugar consumption has doubled over the past 30 years.
  • Tooth decay and resultant tooth extractions on children are rising.
  • Nearly 10% of children in their first year of school in England are obese.

What you really need to know is…

What is the recommended daily sugar intake?

  • For adults and teens – 7 teaspoons/30g daily
  • Older children – 6 teaspoons/24g daily
  • Small children – 5 teaspoons/19g daily

For the big tea drinkers among you, it’s easy to see how a few sugary cups of tea can lead you to exceed the RDA.

It’s essential to understand:

Which foods are high in sugar?

Sugar in its pure form is relatively easy to keep track of, but what about ‘hidden sugars?’

Common sense (and our tastebuds) tell us that biscuits, chocolate and sweets are full of the sweet stuff, but in other foods, sugar can be surprisingly difficult to distinguish.

You may be shocked to find out how much sugar is lurking in your ‘healthy’ cereal, yoghurts and condiments. Even savoury food, which most of us would assume to be sugar-free, can have a high sugar content.

If you REALLY want to be sure…

…it’s always best to check the packaging and nutritional info. Bare in mind your RDA, and make educated choices accordingly.

Are all sugars the same?

Absolutely not. Sugars are extremely complex things, and come in many different forms.

Some have additional nutritional value and have a lesser impact on our blood sugar levels – these are considered much more beneficial. To simplify things, it’s easier to split sugars into two groups.

What are free sugars?

Free sugars are the sugariest kind of sugars. They include sugar added to foods by the manufacturer, as well as pure forms of sugar such as honey, fruit juices and syrup.

If you want to be healthier, opt for:

Naturally occurring sugars

Naturally occurring sugars are those found in whole fruit and vegetables and dairy products. They’re much more beneficial to the body, as they come with other nutritional benefits. This also makes them more easily digestible.

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