1 Teaspoon of Sugar Equals 16 Calories
Did you know that fruit juice can contain a similar amount of sugar per 100ml as a fizzy drink? Thats 7 teaspoons a can – the sum total amount of sugar an adult should be consuming in an entire day!
Too much sugar means too many calories, and not only leads to weight gain but to inflammation and serious illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Based on current trends, if we don’t cut down on sugar, 1 in 3 people will be obese by 2034.
How much sugar is too much?
Nutrition labels tell you how much sugar a food contains. Food that has 15g or more per 100g is considered high in sugar. Anything under 5g of total sugar per 100g is low.
New recommendations say that adults (and children over 11) should be consuming no more than 7 teaspoons of sugar each day. On average, this is about half the amount of sugar an adult currently consumes per day. Teenagers are consuming about 3 times the recommended amount.
Children from 7-10 should consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar (that’s less than 1 can of fizzy) in the WHOLE day. Put another way, if you have a can of drink during the day, that is ALL the sugar you should have ALL day.
What sugars should we avoid?
Foods that contain free sugars are the ones we should be cutting down on. Free sugars include any sugar that’s added to a product by manufacturers, cooks or consumers or the sugar naturally present in syrups, honey and fruit juices. It doesn’t include sugars in dairy products (lactose).
Tips to decrease sugar intake
Here are some simple tips to help you gradually cut down on the amount of added sugar in your diet.
Nearly a quarter of the added sugar in our diets comes from sugary drinks such as fizzy drinks, juices and cordials. A 500ml bottle of cola contains the equivalent of 17 teaspoons of sugar!
- Choose water or milk over juice or fizzy.
- Eat your fruit, don’t drink it.
- If you take sugar in hot drinks try to cut back gradually – small steps may hurt less than cold turkey. If you can’t kick the habit, try artificial sweeteners.
- Herbal teas are flavoursome alternatives without any added sugar.
Meals and Snacks
Many breakfast cereals are high in sugar. Read the nutrition label and choose only products that have less than 15g or less of sugar per 100g. Read the information contained in the Nutritional Information Label. Remember, high sugar = 15g or more per 100g food, low sugar = 2g or less per 100g
Rethink your approach to snacks. Do you have to have chocolate, biscuits and cake every day? Why not try reaching for a piece of fruit first?
Condiments and sauces such as tomato sauce can have as much as 23g of sugar in 100g – roughly half a teaspoon per serving. This can add up over the course of a day.
Do you need to have dessert every day? Try reducing the amount of dessert you have, or how often you have it. Desserts low in added sugar include fruit (fresh, frozen, dried or tinned – choose those canned in juice rather than syrup), rice pudding and plain unsweetened yogurt.
For healthy, affordable and easy snack ideas check out the My Family Food website.
Adapted from Health Navigator New Zealand