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Design | 2nd November 2015

Sugar – Not so sweet after all

Read Time: 2 minutes


How many spoonfuls of sugar did you eat yesterday?

It’s probably more than you think.

Sugar is the hot topic right now with the media describing it as ‘poison’, ‘deadly’ and ‘toxic’. But why all of the sudden is there such controversy in the amount of sugar we consume?

It comes in response to Public Health England’s (PHE) report published last week Sugar Reduction: the Evidence for Action which called for a 10-20% sugar tax, a crackdown on marketing junk food to children and special offers in an effort to tackle childhood obesity.

The report portrays sugar as a huge health issue, and urges ministers to take action.  It’s no surprise, just looking at the stats below is enough to put you off ever putting a teaspoon of sugar in your tea again.

  • A high sugar diet can lead to serious health risks including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure
  • Almost 25% of adults, 10% of 4-5 year olds and nearly 20% of 10-11 year olds in England are obese
  • Treating obesity and its associated risks is a massive burden on the NHS costing over £5bn every year
  • Currently 1 in 3 UK adults are pre-diabetic because of their high blood sugar levels, and are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes

To reduce the health risks the World Health Organisation recommends adults and children should aim to reduce their sugar intake by roughly half (less than 10 per cent of their daily calories). For optimal health benefits they are advised to cut their intake to 5% or the equivalent of 6 teaspoons a day.

The problem is many of us are unaware of the ‘hidden’ sugar content in food.  Even if you don’t snack on typical sugary food such as cakes and sweets, the majority of processed foods including sauces, cereals and ready meals contain high levels of sugar.  When you’re food shopping make sure you take the time to read the labels so you don’t get caught out by so called ‘healthy’ products.

How to cut out the sweet stuff:

Ditch the fizzy drinks

One of the first steps is to completely eliminate sugary drinks from your diet.  Not only could they rot your teeth, fizzy drinks, cordial and fruit juices are one of the biggest factors contributing to obesity. Drinking just one can of Coca Cola contains 35g of sugar, which would take an adult over their daily recommended sugar intake. Quick fix – switch to water or milk which are sugar free and tooth-friendly.

Healthier breakfast

Breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar – a typical bowl of Cheerios contains approximately 9 grams of the sweet stuff. For a healthier start to your day swap sugary cereal for one high in whole grain or whole wheat. For something a bit different why not try porridge, avocados or eggs.

Snack swap

Resist the urge to munch on sugary snacks such as Bellvita Breakfast Bars, which are marketed as healthy, yet are so high in sugar you might as well have a chocolate chip cookie.

Instead go for a low fat yoghurt, fruit, nuts or rice cakes.

If you need inspiration head over to for lots of incredible meal ideas that you and your body will love.  Also check out Hemsley and Hemsley, their recipes look delicious and are free from refined sugar and gluten, suitable for anyone who wants to lose weight, look and feel better.  The government’s Change4Life initiative also has some handy sugar-swapping tips.

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