When we think of sugar we usually think of cakes and sweets, but many foods contain more sugar than you may realise. If these foods feature heavily in your diet, you may be eating more sugar than you think you are.
Do you know how much sugar you really eat every day?
How much added sugar should you eat in a day?
It varies from person to person, but the standard daily sugar allowance is 20g (5 teaspoons) for women and 30g (around 7 teaspoons) for men.
Added sugar shouldn’t make up more than 5% of your daily calorie intake.
Do you eat cereal for breakfast?
If you eat cereal for breakfast you could be eating close to your daily allowance of sugar before you even leave your house in the morning.
Porridge, wheat biscuits or shredded wheat are fine, but cereals like granola and muesli with dried fruit may contain up to 13g of sugar per serving. Avoid falling into this sugar trap by reading food labels and only picking cereals that contain less than 5g of sugar per 100g.
Is yoghurt a healthy dessert option?
Yoghurt has a number of health benefits. It can be a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin D. But yoghurt, especially the low-fat varieties, can also be high in sugar.
The sugar content of yoghurt can range from 2.5g to 15.8g per serving. Read food labels to help you make an informed decision about what you’re eating. Remember, sugar is naturally found in dairy, but you need to watch out for added sugar. If there is more than 1 type of sugar listed, then it’s likely that there are added sugars - try and limit these.
Are you a serial snacker?
When it’s past breakfast but not quite time for lunch, a cereal bar can sound like a healthy snack option. However, cereal bars are often loaded with sugar. Some cereal bars that are marketed as health foods can contain as much sugar as a chocolate bar.
Cereal bars are a convenient snack that can be eaten as part of a healthy and balanced diet, but make sure you know how much of your daily sugar allowance they contribute to.
Do you like ketchup with your fries?
Would you sprinkle sugar on your burger and fries and consider it a balanced meal? Probably not. But 1 tablespoon of ketchup contains 4g of sugar - the same as the average biscuit.
Sugar is found in many table sauces, so make sure you check the labels before you eat them, and don’t forget to consider the stated serving size. The sugar content of 1 serving of your favourite sauce may be low, but do you really only eat 1 serving per meal?
Salads are healthy, right?
Your salad is probably quite healthy if you eat it without dressing, but how often do you do that? Most store-bought salad dressings are full of sugar. For example, a french vinaigrette from a supermarket can contain up to 3 teaspoons of sugar per 100g.
Keep your sugar intake low by making your own salad dressing. It can be as simple as mixing olive oil with lemon juice and a pinch of pepper and tossing it over your salad.
Alcohol has sugar too
With so much attention placed on the alcohol content of alcoholic drinks, it’s easy to not realise how much sugar is in your favourite drink. Did you know that alcoholic drinks make up 11% of the UK population’s daily intake of added sugar?
All alcoholic drinks contain some sugar, but fortified wines, liqueurs, sherry and cider tend to contain the most. Even if you opt for a low-sugar spirit, pay attention to the mixer you add to it. Remember, 1 can of cola (containing more than 30g of sugar) can account for your entire daily sugar allowance.
How healthy are health drinks?
Vitamin water, smoothies and coconut water all come with health claims, but their sugar content is often overlooked.
Like fruit juice, smoothies can have up to 30g of sugar per 300ml glass. Try and limit yourself to only 1 small (150ml) glass of unsweetened juice a day.