We are all consuming too much sugar – and sugar sweetened drinks are a big part of the problem. It’s time to #GiveUpLovingPop! Water and lower fat milks are the best sources of hydration to keep you going at school and home throughout the day!
Am I eating too much sugar?
Everyday people in Greater Manchester, of all ages, are consuming too much sugar. The biggest contributor in the diet is soft drinks. People’s health would benefit if sugar intake was reduced. The table on the right shows that children and young people are the biggest culprits – 11-18 year old’s consume over three times the recommended amount of free sugars.
In the case of fruit juices and smoothies – it’s better to eat the whole fruit itself because we’re then getting the benefits of eating fibre, and the sugar in the fruit is absorbed more slowly in our bodies.
How can I tell if a drink is high in sugar?
There are 56 different names for sugar! The most common include maltose, glucose, molasses, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, honey, invert sugar, treacle and syrups. If these are listed high up in the ingredients list on the nutrition label, it is likely the product is high in sugar as ingredients are listed in order of weight.
The maximum daily 'free sugar' intake increases as children grow:
- age 4 to 7 - 5 cubes or 5 tsp of sugar
- age 7 to 10 - 6 cubes or 6 tsp of sugar
- children over 11+ adults - 7 cubes or 7 tsp of sugar
The easiest way to cut down on sugar is to swap sugary drinks, including fruit juices and smoothies, to water, lower-fat milks, sugar-free and no-added sugar drinks. Remember low-fat meals can still contain lots of sugar – check the labels.
Cola drinks can contain 35g (7 teaspoons) of sugar per 330ml! Energy drinks can contain 27.5g (5.5 teaspoons) of sugar per 250ml! Sports drinks can contain 47.5g (9.5 teaspoons) of sugar per 380ml!
Sugary drinks have no nutritional value and are often described as containing ‘empty’ calories. This means they contain no essential nutrients other than providing calories in the form of carbohydrate from sugar. Sugar can either be found naturally in foods or added to foods during manufacture. Added sugar found in soft drinks is not necessary for a healthy diet.
Sugary drinks include those drinks with ‘added sugar’ such as fizzy soft drinks, fruit flavoured drinks, squash and energy drinks.
Try switching from sparkling orange juice to no added sugar squash with sparkling water / plain water.
Try diluting fresh / pure orange juice (not made from concentrate) with sparkling or plain water.
If you don’t like the taste of water, add fresh fruit to your water, such as strawberries or orange, for a fruity low-sugar twist to your water bottle.
‘Diet’ soft drinks contain no or little added sugar however they are acidic and can be harmful to teeth if consumed too often. These can be a good alternative to high-sugar versions, but try to keep for special occasions and drink at mealtimes only.
Water and lower fat milks are the best drinks to have between mealtimes and the best source of hydration for school, work, sport and general day-to-day life. Try to drink at least 6-8 glasses every day.