Sweets, sugar and knowing your limits

Chocolate, Desserts, ice-cream, chocolate – there’s not many of us who don’t like to indulge our sweet tooth occasionally.

But up-to-date guidance suggests we should be reducing how much sugar we eat from ten per cent of our daily calorie intake to just five per cent.

For most of us that works out less than the amount of sugar in a single can of coke.

So what does that all mean for us? Exactly how much sugar is too much?

We know that sugars occur naturally in fruit, vegetables and milk but they can also be added to food and drink.

These added sugars, or ‘free’ sugars, are what we need to cut down on. They can be found in everyday items such as breakfast cereals, baked beans, biscuits, cakes and soft drinks.

To add to the confusion, sugars can be labelled as many different things including glucose, maltose, fructose, sucrose, honey, dextrose and syrup!

Public Health England offers some useful guidance to help you stick to the new recommendations:

  • Aged 11 and over. No more than 30 grams of sugar per day – that’s equivalent to six teaspoons at five grams per teaspoon
  • Seven to ten year olds. No more than 24 grams per day – equivalent to five teaspoons
  • Two to six year olds. No more than 19 grams per day -equivalent to four teaspoons

There are lots of reasons for cutting down on the sweet stuff but the main culprits include weight gain and rotting teeth.

Too much sugar leads to a greater risk of tooth decay and this is happening from an earlier and earlier age.

With nearly 70% of Derbyshire now classed as overweight or obese we’re also storing up a ticking time bomb of health problems including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and mental health issues.

Cutting down on sugar helps reduce our overall calorie intake, in turn reducing the risk of becoming overweight.

So next time you’re reaching for that biscuit or chocolate bar, ask yourself if that short term sugar high is really worth risking your health in the future.

You can find information about sugar and other healthy eating information at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/portionsizewise or download a Sugar Guidance handy hints leaflet.

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