You may have seen in the news last week, that children are eating 18 years worth of sugar by the time they are 10.
National guidelines recommend that children aged between 7 and 10 should eat no more than or 24g of sugar per day (that’s about 6 sugar cubes). To put that into context, just one Cadbury’s Crème Egg contains 26.5g of sugar – more than an entire day’s worth of sugar in one little sweet treat.
Despite these guidelines, recent research has found that children are consuming an additional 8 sugar cubes per day. That’s more than double the recommended amount, and adds up to a sickly additional 2,800 cubes every year!
Eating too much sugar can lead to serious health complications like weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes (a condition that has only recently begun to affect children), not to mention tooth decay. Aside from its sweet taste, sugar has absolutely no purpose – it has no nutritional value and doesn’t fill us up.
So why are we putting our children’s health at risk like this?
A possible reason could be the hidden sugars that sneak into all sorts of foods. Things you wouldn’t expect like tomato ketchup, baked beans, peanut butter and even bread have high amounts of added sugar! So, while parents may try to restrict obviously sugary foods like sweets and chocolates from children’s diets, they may be unintentionally feeding their children more sugar than they think.
We’re not saying sweet treats can’t be enjoyed from time to time (birthday cake, anyone?), but day-to-day, why not make simple changes to your shopping list to reduce your family’s sugar consumption?
Change4Life’s Sugar Swaps guide has lots of ideas for switching cereals, puddings, and drinks to a healthier (but equally yummy!) option. Click here to check it out!
As well as swapping sugary foods for a healthier alternative, you can usually find reduced sugar versions of the same product (like reduced sugar baked beans, reduced sugar squash etc). Use the traffic light labels on the food packaging to find the lowest sugar option.
Better still – make your own! This way, you know exactly what is going into your food (and your child!). And cooking homemade versions of your favourite supermarket foods needn’t mean hours in the kitchen either. Google is jam packed with low-sugar and sugar-free recipes for just about anything, but here are just a few of our favourite easy and speedy recipes to get you started.
Our BeeZee Families courses support children and their parents/caregivers to make healthy lifestyle changes to avoid excess sugar intake. Learn more about BeeZee Families and get in touch to find out more about available free courses in your area.