Children in England are consuming well over the recommended daily amount of sugar. Children from ages four to 10 are said to be eating twice as much sugar than they’re supposed to.
The recommended amount of sugar intake for four to six-year-olds is only five sugar cubes a day; for seven to 10-year-olds, it’s a six-cube recommendation. It’s believed that children from these age groups are consuming around 13 sugar cubes instead of their recommended amounts. This amounts to 4,800 sugar cubes on average per year.
Where is all this sugar coming from? Well, let’s look at some percentages. When it comes to the main sources of sugar in the diets of these children, there is a whole list of sugary foods. Nine percent comes from biscuits, eight percent comes from breakfast cereals, and six percent comes from yogurt, and other dairy-based desserts. Five percent comes from ice cream and four percent comes from pudding. The highest intake comes in at 10 percent from sugary sodas or juices with another 10 percent from pastries, cakes and buns.
When it comes to beverages, fruit juices can easily be overlooked. However, they are usually riddled with added sugar. While some of these added sugars can be avoided by drinking natural fruit juice, these beverages still contain sugar which is not as concentrated. When it comes to sodas, it’s no surprise that they are full of sugar.
The UK is trying to fight this problem. In April, Britain implemented a sugar tax. This means that soda companies will have to pay taxes on drinks containing over five grams of sugar per 100ml at a cost of 18 pence per litre. The taxes are slightly higher for drinks with eight or more grams of sugar at a cost of 24 pence per litre. As result, soda companies are trying to cut sugar from their drinks. Finding ways to reduce or replace sugar in their drinks is a big part of this process. A prime example of this is Coca-Cola’s new stevia-sweetened drinks. Coca-Cola, which is well known for their sugar-filled sodas, has now released a zero sugar, stevia-sweetened drink.
Another way manufacturers are trying to reduce sugar intake is with carbonated water. PepsiCo is one of the companies that has released its own line of sparkling water. Though it is not as good-for-you as regular water, this could be a good replacement for fizzy sodas.
The sugar tax currently only affects sodas leading some to speculate that a sugar tax on all foods help address the problem of over-consumption of sweeteners among children. With the amount of sugar being consumed by children in the UK, risks of obesity, diabetes and other illnesses are very high. The sugar tax, though inconvenient for manufacturers, might be the solution to this problem.