Is your child or a youngster you know eating too much sugar? The answer is probably yes! The New Year is a great time for us all to think about how we can improve our diet. Cutting down on sugar is an ideal place to start.
Eating too much sugar contributes to eating too many calories, which can lead to weight gain. Being overweight increases your risk of health problems such as heart disease, some forms of cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Excessive sugar in your diet can also lead to tooth decay which might result in nasty toothache and black teeth.
Thankfully, there are a number of subtle changes you can make to significantly reduce your sugar intake. A campaign has recently been launched by Change4Life called ‘Make A Swap’ which I am delighted to share with you.
The campaign highlights children in England are eating an extra 2,800 sugar cubes a year, which is more than double the recommended guidelines. That’s 8 cubes too many each day!
One sugar cube is equivalent to four grams of sugar and for children aged four to six, the recommended daily maximum amount of sugar is five cubes. For children aged seven to 10 this increases to six and for anyone aged 11 or over the maximum is seven sugar cubes.
Half of the sugar in children’s diets comes from sugary drinks, sweets, biscuits, cakes, puddings, sugary breakfast cereals and higher-sugar yoghurts and puddings. However, it is easy to cut back by making some simple swaps.
Instead of eating chocolate cereal on a morning, why not make a swap to shredded wholegrain cereal? This cuts more than half the sugar from your breakfast bowl of cereal!
Instead of a chocolate pudding, you could have a healthier dessert such as a rice pudding or fresh fruit. Keep an eye out for food labels as they often have a traffic light system where red flags up high sugar content.
Keep your eye out for the Change4Life ‘Good Choice’ badge in stores and when shopping online to help you find healthier options. You could also download the free Change4Life Food Scanner app to find out what’s really in the food you’re buying. There are plenty of resources to help you on your way!
When it comes to sugar intake, small changes can make a big difference. I hope you have been inspired to take action!