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Is Britain addicted to sugar?

Posted by: Patrick Catanzariti on February 9, 2016

With Britain’s apparent sugar addiction in the news so much these days, we thought we’d see how current our UK intake is lining up against the healthy guidelines set by the experts – and how you can limit your sugar intake,

WHO Guidelines
Let’s take a look at the guidelines set by the World Health Organization. They decide on their figures through rigorous studies throughout the world, so it’s the best choice for settling on an average number.

WHO guidelines do not include sugars contained in fresh fruit or vegetables, because there is no evidence that these sugars have a negative impact on health. So, it’s the added sugars found in food and drink – called free sugars – that are added which the WHO deem unhealthy.

In total, the WHO recommends that children and adults consume no more than 10% of their total diet in free sugars. However, this is only a minimum, and people should strive to get that figure to below 5%. In fact, many health campaigners have claimed that the original 10% number is way too high. And, that 5% is the maximum allowed in a safe and healthy diet.

UK consumption
If we go by the lower intake of 5%, then UK citizens are struggling to achieve anywhere near the recommendations. The average UK adult’s diet consists of 11.6% of sugar, while for children, it’s even worse. UK kids have an astonishing 15.2% of their diet made up of free sugars. That’s still far too much about even the higher maximum of 10%.

Obesity, tooth decay, and severe dietary illnesses are all inevitable byproducts of too much sugar. So, what should responsible adults do to curb the amount of sugar they eat and give to their children? Let’s take a look at some suggestions.

Reducing sugar intake
First of all, avoid all sugary drinks. Even fruit juices contain high levels of sugar, so you should have no more than one small cup of juice every day. You should also start preparing their meals, too, rather than relying on jars of sauces or ready meals.

Even salad dressing contains a lot of sugar these days, so think about making your own versions. Cooking for yourself will mean you know exactly how much sugar is going in your meal.

Finally, look at breakfast cereals – especially for young children. Go for plain porridge or wholemeal cereal biscuits rather than sugar-loaded cereals. It will give your kids a far better start to the day.

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