Most adults and children in the UK eat too much free sugar, which puts us at risk of tooth decay, heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Free sugars include all added sugars in foods and drinks in whatever form including table sugar, honey, syrups, and nectars, as well as the sugars naturally present in fruit, vegetable and pulses (e.g. soy, chickpeas) that have been juiced, pureed or made into pastes.
How much should we be eating? The Government recommends that free sugars should make up no more than 5% of our daily energy intake. This is the equivalent of:
Children aged 4-6: 19g (5 sugar cubes)
Children aged 7-10: 24g (6 sugar cubes)
Everyone aged 11 and over: 30g (7 sugar cubes)
It is worth noting that even ‘natural’ sugars such as honey still count towards your free sugar intake. However whole fruits and vegetables and milk do not count. To reduce your family’s sugar intake check the front-of-pack information which tells you the sugar content, paying particular attention to snack foods. Choose ‘no added sugar’ options where possible and try to limit sweet treats to once a day. Avoid soft drinks as these are the biggest source of free sugar in many teenage diets.