There’s no point sugar-coating the facts; we’ve got an obesity crisis on our hands.
A quarter of all adults and a fifth of children are classified in this way, and it’s taking its toll on our nation’s health – an estimated one third of UK adults also have pre-diabetes.
Sugar is being blamed as one of the key culprits in this epidemic, but it’s not just the frosty coating on a doughnut that’s the problem (after all, the occasional treat is allowed!).
No, the biggest problem is hidden sugar, the some-times vast quantities that are heaped into ‘non-treat’ foods and drinks.
Thanks to the recent news reports, we now know that a single can of fizzy drink contains seven to nine teaspoonfuls of sugar.
But there’s also a heap of hidden nasties lurking in other kinds of food.
‘Most people are wise to the products that contain high sugar levels. However, they may not be aware just how much they are consuming,’ says Zoe Frith, in-house nutritionist for Prestige Purchasing.
‘The biggest surprise for consumers is the hidden sugars in savoury products which can be unexpectedly high, such as canned goods, ready meals and sauces.’
The Government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition is recommending that around five per cent (down from 10 per cent) of people’s daily energy can come from free sugars (those added to food or contained in fruit juices, honey, syrups and sweetened drinks).
Chairman of Action on Sugar, Professor Graham MacGregor, warns of some of the worst culprits:
So focused are we on the ‘healthy’ option that we don’t take the time to read the label properly. Yeo Valley 0 per cent Fat Vanilla Yoghurt contains the equivalent of five teaspoons of sugar and the Muller Crunch Corner Strawberry Shortcake Yoghurt fares even worse with six teaspoons.
Most of us pop into a coffee shop for a quick pick-me-up but without realising what sugar high we’re setting ourselves up for. The Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream (and skimmed milk) contains the equivalent of 11 teaspoons of sugar.
We might already associate quick and easy ready meals with dubious amounts of salt, but sugar is hiding in there too, so always check.