How much added sugar do we need in our diet? Well, actually, NONE.

 However, dietary limits are publi100g-of-chips-5-cubes-of-sugar 100mls-beershed thus:For ages 11 years and older – 30g per day. This is equivalent to 7 sugar cubes.For ages 7-10yrs -24g. Equivalent to around 6 sugar cubes. For ages 4-6yrs – 19g. Equivalent to around 5 sugar cubes.

The harms of sugar (some say including sugar derived from starchy food) are dental decay, possible addiction and contributing to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. So the less we take the healthier we are likely to be. A recent report from Cancer UK revealed that in the last decade 80,000 children in Scotland starting school were obese or overweight. Whereas it is a very good thing to be active daily and ‘running a mile’, the reality is that you cannot run away form a bad diet.  As part of the recent Food Standards Scotland’s survey, 40% of those surveyed admitted drinking sugary drinks every day.

The Scottish Government reckons it will take ‘almost a generation’ to change attitudes.

We simply cannot let that be true. We must act collectively to protect our children.

So from where does our population get most of its sugar? Here is a list to make the point – and change our attitudes.

Sugar, preserves and confectionery

Choc ing news! Britons have a sweet tooth. 27% of  added sugar in our daily diet comes from table sugar, jams, chocolate and sweets, with chocolate regularly voted Britain’s favourite sweet treat. Sugar intake is highest among children aged 11 to 18 years.

Sweet offenders:

Chocolate spread = 13 sugar cubes per 100g

Plain dairy chocolate = 15 cubes per 100g

Fruit pastilles = 14 cubes per100g


Non-alcoholic drinks

Perhaps the most surprising source, nearly a quarter (25%) of the added sugar in our diet comes from soft drinks, fruit juice, and other non-alcoholic drinks.

The levels are even higher among children aged 11 to 18 years, who get 40% of their added sugar from drinks – mainly soft drinks, such as cola.

A 500ml bottle of cola contains the equivalent of 17 cubes of sugar. Perhaps more surprising, 100% pure unsweetened fruit juice is high in the type of sugars we need to cut down on. This is because the juicing process releases the sugars contained in the fruit.  Far better to eat the whole fruit.

Children should avoid sugary drinks and swap to water, milk, sugar-free and no-added sugar drinks.

Sweet offenders:

Cola = just under 3 cubes per 100ml

Squash cordials = just under 6 cubs per 100ml

Sweetened fruit juice = just over 2 sugar cubes per 100ml


Biscuits, buns and cakes

Britain is a nation of “grazers”, preferring to fill up on something that’s quick and comforting, but often high in sugar and trans fat, such as buns, pastries, biscuits, and other cereal-based foods.

While fibrous wholegrain cereal-based products may form part of a healthy balanced diet, try to cut down on varieties high in sugar and fat, which can increase the risk of tooth decay and contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess.

Sweet offenders:

Iced cakes =13 cubes per 100g

Chocolate-coated biscuits =  11 cubes per 100g

Frosted corn flakes = just under 9 cubes per 100g (over a child’s daily ‘limit’)


Alcoholic drinks

Some people are unaware of the sugar content in alcohol and don’t include booze when calculating their daily intake.


Dairy products

Dairy products like cheese and yoghurt form part of a healthy balanced diet. But some dairy products, such as flavoured milks, yoghurts and dairy-based desserts like ice cream, contain added sugar.

Sweet offenders: 

Fruit yoghurt = 4 cubes per 100g

Fruit fromage frais = 3 cubes per 100g

Choc ice = 5 cubes per 100g


Savoury food

Sugar is also found in surprisingly large amounts in many savoury foods, such as stir-in sauces, ketchup, salad cream, ready meals, marinades, chutneys, and crisps. A study by Which? found some ready meals had more sugar content than vanilla ice cream.

Sweet offenders:  

Tomato ketchup = over 6 cubes per 100g

Stir-in sweet and sour sauce = just under 5 cubes per 100g

Salad cream = 4 cubes per 100g


The images below are a rough guide as to what 100g or 100 mls look like.

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