Too much sugar!

A new study examining the consumption of free sugars by British children showed that many children aged four and over are taking in more than the recommended target for optimal health. 

The study, conducted, according to a report on, as part of SWEET, a European Commission Horizon 2020 funded research program, “suggests that children in the UK start consuming free sugars (those added to foods and drinks and those occurring naturally in fruit juices, honey and syrups) at a very young age, and that many toddlers’ sugar intake exceeds the maximum recommended amount for children aged 4 and older.” 

“Our results suggest that free sugar consumption starts early in life and exceeds current public health recommendations, largely due to the high amounts of added sugar in modern diets. Much of children’s daily sugar intake is hidden in packaged and ultra-processed foods, many of which are marketed as healthy. For example, a standard serving of breakfast cereal can contain up to 13 grams (3 teaspoons) of free sugars, and some yogurts contain as many as 15 grams (approximately 4 teaspoons).” (Lisa Heggie, University College London, UK) 

The findings, part of SWEET’s overall examination of the effect on long-term health pf dietary sweeteners, specifically in the context of public health, back up results from Australia’s Children and Young People Oral Health Tracker which showed that approximately 70% of children in Australia are consuming sugar that exceeds World Health Organization’s (WHO) daily recommended levels. 

According to WHO, free sugars should not constitute in excess of daily caloric intake with 5% or less the preferred level to ensure children (and adults) are as healthy, orally and generally as possible. 

With diets full of fruit juices, yoghurts, cakes, pastries and lollies, British and Australian children are regularly exceeding this recommended level resulting in increased tooth decay, gum disease and unnecessary hospitalisations which in 2018, at the time of the release of Australia’s Children and Young People Oral Health Tracker were running at 9.3 per 1000 for children aged 5-9 years of age. 

For the full results of the study, go to “British children’s sugar intake exceeds current public health recommendations”  

– ADA’s “Children’s consumption regularly exceeds recommended daily intake”

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