12 June 2019
Within society we often vilify fat and its contents, we get a lot of conflicting advice and misinformation about the types of fat that we eat, what we should and shouldn’t eat. We also ignore the fact that we are consuming a huge quantity of sugar on an individual and societal basis. This has hit the headlines recently with the sugar tax, and a number of articles I’ve read in the national press regarding the increase in obesity, dental decay and general ill health in children. We do have a responsibility as parents to make ourselves aware of the amount of sugar that our children consume, but it’s often very difficult to do that as a lot of the added sugar is hidden in the foods that we buy on a daily basis.
My challenge for you in June is to think about the sugar that is added to your food, and consider that we should be consuming sugar this much sugar;
• adults 7 cubes a day
• children age 7 - 10 years 6 cubes a day
• children age 4 - 6 years 5 cubes a day
• There's no guideline limit for children under the age of 4, but it's recommended they avoid sugar-sweetened drinks and food with sugar added to it.
This does not include sugar that we get from whole fruit, although juice has the fibre taken out so it does count as added sugar.
An awareness of which foods you buy that contain added sugar is important. A good way to investigate this is to eliminate sugar completely – an interesting task to undertake! I’m on my second time of doing this.
Initially when sugar is eliminated it’s a thought-provoking experience. The first time, I had significant nausea for the first 4-5 days but not as many sugar cravings as I thought. Most interesting was thinking about those little treats that we allow ourselves, like my packet of crisps while at work! There are only two types of ready salted crisps I found without added sugar. My key advice is to turn the packet over and look at the ingredients, the majority of food stuff no matter what flavour will have added sugar. I was surprised to see that even Bombay Mix has added sugar.
I’ve now become much more aware by looking at ingredients, which means I am empowered to choose how much sugar myself and my children have in our diet.
If you do take on this challenge, please let me know how you get on! It would be lovely to chat and exchange our experiences around this, plus any really interesting discoveries about what you found in the supermarket.