Too much sugar isn't good for anyone, and that's especially the case with sugar that's added during manufacture (as opposed to occurring naturally in fruits and other foodstuffs). A new study suggests that more than half of all Australian kids get more than the recommended level of added sugar in their diet, with the figures rising dramatically as kids get older. Which foods are the biggest offenders?
World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend that no more than 10 per cent of your daily energy intake should come from added sugar. A study presented today at the Australia and New Zealand Obesity Society conference found that 57 per cent of Australian kids exceeded this level. Higher figures are seen in other countries (such as the USA), but that's hardly an excuse for the figures to be so bad.
Preliminary data from the study identifies these foods as the biggest culprits:
|FOOD||% ADDED TO SUGAR INTAKE|
|Soft drinks and flavoured water (not including cordials)||15%|
|Chocolate/chocolate based confectionary||7%|
|Sugar sprinkled on food, honey, syrups||6%|
|Breakfast cereals and cereal bars||6%|
|Frozen Milk Products||6%|
Eliminating soft drinks makes sense, but it's only part of the ideal strategy. "Any added sugar is unnecessary calories when many people are overweight and obese," points out Professor Peter Clifton from the Baker IDI heart and Diabetes Institute. "Clearly sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials are still a problem and need to be dramatically reduced as they have no other nutrients — just unwanted calories. Nevertheless, focusing just on sugar is misplaced as for many children pizzas, pies, white bread and fast food are more of a problem than sugar, so the whole diet needs attention."