Added Sugar in Foods

Over the last few years, there has been an increase in awareness around the dangers of excessive sugar intake and the detrimental effect it is having on our health.

Although sugar is a natural carbohydrate and be found in unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables and dairy, it is also often added to many processed foods (sweet AND savoury) to improve taste and texture. It’s also highly addictive.

Sugar provides us with a lot energy; often only for a short amount of time and it doesn’t actually provide us with any significant amount of vitamins and minerals. Though sugar appears in a broad range of food, not all foods that contain sugar must be avoided. Foods such as fruit and diary which naturally contain higher amounts of sugar also provide us with a good source of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Processed foods and drinks such as cakes, confectionery and soft drinks have large amounts of sugar added to them. Due to the short bursts of energy it provides and the addictive nature of the sugar, it is more common for these types of foods to be consumed far too regularly and sometimes in replacement of natural and unprocessed foods which contain the nutrients our body needs for optimum health.

It can be easy to overindulge in foods with added sugar, so here are some tips to limit the amount in your child’s diet:

  • Reduce the quantity of sugary/sweet syrup added to foods such as cakes and slices and replace it with natural alternatives such as honey, stevia or rice malt syrup (often you won’t notice the difference in taste)
  • Ensure your fridge is full of fruits and vegetables to encourage these to be eaten as a snack instead of foods with added sugar
  • Refer to the nutrition information panel and choose foods that are lower in added sugar – you might be shocked to see how many foods contain added sugar
  • Don’t be fooled by products that are ‘low fat’ – they often replace fat with sugar
  • Make water the drink of choice. Adding fresh fruit to water can provide flavour
  • Chose full fat milk instead of low fat or skim.

(Source: Healthy Kids | Added sugar in food https://healthy-kids.com.au/food-nutrition/position-statements/added-sugar-in-food/)

(Source: Better Health | Sugar https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/sugar)