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Sugar: Just the facts

Sugar only gives you energy; no other nutrients

Why should you worry about the amount of sugar you eat?

When you eat foods or drinks high in sugar, your body absorbs this really quickly and you will often find that you feel hungry again very quickly.

Eating too much sugar can affect your health; if you don’t burn off the sugar, it stores as fat and can lead to you becoming overweight. Being overweight gives you a higher risk of developing Type II diabetes and heart problems. Also, eating food high in sugar is not good for your teeth.

What are free sugars?

Sugars added to foods or drinks, or found naturally like in honey, syrups and fruit juice, are described as free or added sugars.

Sugar comes in lots of different types, some you may have heard of:

Different types of sugars

How much free sugar can you have?

For anyone over the age of 11, the recommended amount of free sugar is 30g (7 teaspoons or cubes).

Free sugars are found in foods and drinks like cakes, biscuits, sugar coated cereals, ice-creams, sweets, chocolates, yoghurts, fizzy drinks, hot chocolate, frappuccino and milkshakes.

How can you tell if something is low in sugar?

Reading food labels is the best way. On the front of the packet, look for traffic light information. This is colour coded green, amber and red for sugar, salt, fat and saturated fat.

Green – low sugar

Amber – medium sugar

Red – high sugar

Change4Life also have an app you can use; just have to scan the bar code and it shows you how much sugar there is in the product.

Should you stop eating fruit because it contains sugar?

No – sugar in whole fruit is a healthy sugar, but for fruit juices and smoothies you should have no more than 150ml and only have them once a day as these drinks don’t contain much fibre and are absorbed into the body really quickly.

What about sweeteners?

There is no evidence that sweeteners are bad for you and they tend to be calorie free and are mainly found in diet drinks.

Take a look at how much sugar is in the following foods and drinks:

how much sugar is in food

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.

Cross Hatch

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Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.

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