Children are sweet, aren’t they? Too sweet, actually, as it’s only just July and they may have consumed all of their sugar intake for 2018 already.
In fact, they reached their sugar limit for the year back in June, according to data from Public Health England (PHE). That sounds like there must be some very hyperactive children, and mums and dads at the end of their tether to us.
Kids aged between four and ten are meant to consume the equivalent of five to six cubes of sugar a day from their food and drink, but on average, children in the UK are consuming 13 a day. This means they’re having the equivalent of 4,800 cubes of sugar a year.
And with the health risks of consuming too much sugar including everything from an increased likelihood of obesity to tooth decay, that doesn’t sound quite so sweet to us at all.
So where is all this extra sugar coming from? Well, lots of it is getting into kids’ systems via cakes and pastries, with these accounting for ten per cent of their overall sugar intake. Sugary drinks (apart from fruit juice, which is one of your five a day, but only if you have no more than 150ml) also account for ten per cent of kids’ sugar consumption.
Meanwhile, nine per cent comes from biscuits, and another nine per cent from jams, spreads and pure sugar, which PHE placed in the same category. Hang on a minute, who’s feeding kids pure sugar?!
Cereals accounted for eight per cent, chocolate for seven per cent, sweets for the same amount, yoghurts, fromage frais and other dairy-based desserts for six per cent, ice cream for five per cent and puddings for four per cent.
But then kids are eating natural sugars from fruit, and from carbohydrates like pasta and rice too, so that’s a whole lot of sugar they’re taking in, and it could cause them serious harm in the long term, especially if they’re consuming 12 months’ worth of sugar in just six months.
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, explained: “Snacks and drinks are adding unnecessary sugar to children’s diets without us even noticing. Swapping to lower or no added sugar alternatives is something all parents can work towards.”
Obviously, it’s impossible for your kids to go the rest of the year without any sugar, but you can watch what they’re eating, especially during the school summer holidays, and make more of an effort to stock up on healthy snacks that aren’t full of refined sugar.
Stuff like carrot sticks and hummus – which you could easily whip up in a Tefal Chopper, or a Tefal Food Processor if you want a hummus mountain (and who wouldn’t?) – homemade flapjacks and fruit cut into fun shapes like stars would all be good alternatives to all those cakes and pastries and dairy-filled desserts!