Do you eat a healthy breakfast? Sometimes what we think is healthy isn’t as good for us as it looks. Today we’re taking a look at sugar and how you can understand how much sugar is too much sugar!
Over half of us (51%) try to eat healthily most of the time but only 1 in 10 (11%) do this all the time! There are loads of reasons for this, including conflicting advice and confusing food labels. So, we’ve broken down the NHS guidelines and how to understand these in your everyday life.
So, what is a healthy amount of sugar?
The NHS’ recommended sugar intake limits depend on age.
These are the maximum amounts of sugar we can have each day to remain healthy, but really we should aim to have a lot less:
Adults: <30g (8,5 spoons)
Children 7-10: <24g (6 spoons)
Children 4-6: <19g (less than 5 spoons)
But, this doesn’t really mean much when you go to make a meal.
The easiest way to figure this out is by checking your food labels. Labels will always have a column with the nutrients per 100g and may also have a column for each portion size. The 100g column is most useful as it helps you compare across products.
For an adult, anything over 22.5g of sugar per 100g is a high level of sugar, whereas below 5g per 100g is considered low. So if you try to stay below 5g per 100g you should be fine! Anything in between is a ‘medium’ amount, so just make sure you have those foods in moderation and try to avoid anything high in sugar.
Most products also use a traffic light system to help. On the label you’ll see a sugar section coloured red for high sugar, orange for medium, and green for low.
But remember, this doesn’t mean that you have to stop eating foods with more than 5g of sugar! Just keep that value in your mind when you consider which foods to buy as It’s a useful way of comparing products so that you can choose the healthiest option.
It’s also still important to consider portion size. Foods high in sugar can be okay if you eat them in moderation. Just remember, 100g of one high sugar food is already almost all of your daily sugar intake, but if you only have 25g, you still have a lot to spare. But sticking to smaller portions is often hard to do, so I tend to try and stick to low sugar foods whenever I can – I’ll still indulge in some chocolate now and again though!
‘No Added Sugar’
The NHS recommend that no more than 5% of our calories should come from added sugar. This often makes people attracted to ‘no added sugar’ options. Whilst these can be good alternatives, it’s not as transparent as it seems. Often, even though no sugar is added, the product is still naturally high in sugar. A lot of the time it’s just used as a marketing trick to make a product seem healthier than it is.
So, always check the label, even if it has healthy slogans!
How do we compare to other brands?
How much sugar is in your cereal?
So now you have the knowledge to check your own cereals. Take a few minutes to go through your cupboard comparing your cereals and see how healthy your breakfast really is! A lot of the tastiest cereals are unfortunately full of sugar, which is why they taste so good.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to sacrifice taste to be healthy!
You can still get tasty low sugar cereals.
Cereals that contain dried fruits, nuts and seeds are often full of flavour without the sugar and if they’re still not sweet enough for you, you can top them with some fresh fruit and get one of your five a day at the same time!
We also often eat much more than the recommended serving size, so it’s helpful to check that as well!
Check your cereal! Are you shocked by the sugar content? Let us know in the comments.