What you can do to be sugar smart

What you can do to be sugar smart

Reducing your sugar intake, and eating a more balanced diet, will make you feel better, increase your energy levels and help you maintain a healthy weight; future proofing your body against illness.

Four easy ways to be Sugar Smart

1. Know your limits 

On average people consume too much sugar. The recommended daily allowance for adults and children aged 11 and over is 30g or 7.5 tsp of added sugar each day. This includes any sugar added by manufacturers or cooks.

For children aged 7 to 10 the recommended limit is 24g or 6 tsp, for 4 to 6 years it’s 19g, around 5tsp.

With children under 5 years old it’s best to avoid sweet snack foods and stick to water or milk to drink wherever possible.

2. Read the labels

Check the ingredients list to find out whether sugar has been added to a product.

Remember that sugar has many different names such as sucrose (table sugar), glucose, honey, maltose, agave nectar, corn syrup, maple syrup, dextrose, coconut sugar, molasses, invert sugar, fruit juice concentrate.  

The nearer the beginning of the ingredient list the sugar is, the more sugar the product contains.

A tip is to look for the words "Carbohydrates (of which sugars)" on the nutritional information table:

  • 5g or less total sugars per 100g is low
  • more than 15g total sugars per 100g is high

3.    Cut down on sugary drinks

This includes fizzy drinks, hot chocolates and caramel lattes.

Water is a healthy and cheap choice for quenching your thirst at any time. It has no calories and contains no sugars that may cause weight gain and can damage teeth.  

Many soft drinks are high in sugar and can contain twice the recommended allowance of sugar for adults (30g). 

  • a 500ml bottle of Coca Cola contains 13 teaspoons (52g)
  • a 500ml bottle of Volvic flavoured water contains 6 teaspoons (24g)
  • some hot chocolates and caramel lattes can contain up to 17 teaspoons (68g)

Some healthier alternatives include:

  • water
  • milk

Fruit juice is a healthy choice and one 150ml serving counts towards your five a day. However when fruit is juiced the natural sugars are released and these can still damage teeth so it’s best to drink fruit juice diluted one part juice to one part water, with a meal and stick to one serving a day. 

Whole fruit and milk contain natural sugars, fructose and lactose, which do not count as added sugars provided the fruit is eaten whole, and the milk does not have any flavouring added.

4. Become a Sugar Smart Champion

Jamie Oliver's Sugar Smart message for Bristol



Find out how to spot hidden sugars and how to avoid the worst offenders in our SugarSmart booklet (pdf, 1.2MB) (opens new window) (opens new window)and SugarSmart poster (pdf, 97k) (opens new window) .

Download the free Change4Life Food Smart app to find out how much sugar, salt and fat is in the food and drink your family consume every day. You can also sign up for lots of free support, tips, ideas and recipes.

Visit the Refil Bristol page for where you can refill your water bottle in Bristol.

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