‘Sugar’ - it seems to be everywhere at the moment. In your food, in your drink, and more recently in the news. We all know that too many sweets aren’t great for our health or our waistbands, but could the problem be much bigger than we first thought?
The NHS recommends that added sugars, including honey and fruit juice, should not make up more than 5% of the energy you get from food and drink each day. This equates to about 30g of sugar a day for those aged 11 and over, which you would immediately exceed if you were to have a single can of coke.
Although steps have been taken to help shoppers keep track of the levels of sugar in our food and drink, not many people realise that the recommended daily amount of total sugars provided on packaging comes to 90g, which is three times the amount of sugar we should be consuming.
Alongside aggressive marketing and an abundance of cheap sugary foods on offer, it’s no wonder we are regularly exceeding our RDA. With ‘health’ foods such as low-fat yoghurt, granola bars and fruit juices packing in as much sugar as products we consider sweet treats, it seems even health-conscious consumers are struggling. Often, people do not take into account the sugar content of everyday items like milk and bread either - it is easy to see how the numbers add up.
Thankfully, people are starting to make a stand.
With Brighton and Hove becoming the first British city to introduce a voluntary ‘sugar tax’ to help tackle rising obesity, it appears councils are finally starting to recognise the effect sugar is having on people’s health as well as this cost to the NHS. In Brighton and Hove alone, 300 children were admitted to hospital to have teeth removed, while diet-related diseases cost the city £80m in just one year.
The move is heavily advocated by celebrity chef and sugar-free campaigner Jamie Oliver, who recently launched his ‘Sugar Rush’ campaign to raise awareness of these issues and encourage government bodies to take action. Part of his campaign involved petitioning a nationwide tax on sugary-drinks, which gained over 140,000 signatures. Although this was not implemented, it created discussion around what could, and should, be done to tackle this growing problem. Schools in Brighton and Hove, amongst other cities, have taken steps to tackle sugar by removing unhealthy snacks from their canteens. Local restaurants, including Jamie’s Italian and Moshimo, have voluntarily introduced a 10p tax on sugary drinks, and hope to see others follow their lead. You can learn more about Jamie’s Sugar Rush campaign here!
Another great initiative comes from NHS backed Change4Life, who have created a ‘Sugar Swaps’ app designed to show quickly and easily how much total sugar is in the food and drink you're having. The app allows you to scan the barcode of a product to see how much total sugar it contains, which is illustrated in sugar cubes too. Your RDA of sugar would equate to roughly 8 cubes.
Click here to download and try the app yourself.
At Sukrin, we believe that you can have your cake and eat it too. Our range of all-natural sweeteners allow you to enjoy your favourite treats without the health implications or sacrifice to taste.