Croydon’s SUGAR SMART campaign is encouraging residents to go sugar-free for 30-days this autumn to reduce their risk of health problems like tooth decay, gaining weight and Type 2 diabetes.
The Croydon Council-led campaign is helping children and adults in the borough to be smarter about their food and drink choices by cutting back on the amount of sugar they consume.
It can be hard to cut down on sugar because it is often hidden in food and drink but there are steps that will make it easier to cut down on added sugar. Added sugar is put in foods at home or by the producer and includes sugars in honey, syrups and fruit juices but not the natural sugars in milk or whole fruit and vegetables.
People can check the sugar content on food and drink labels to monitor their daily intake, including those on alcohol products. They can also avoid added sugar during weekdays, ditch fizzy drinks or aim to eat less than the maximum recommended seven teaspoons of added sugar per day – the same amount as in one 330ml can of Coca-Cola original taste.
Another idea to consume less sugar is to cook from scratch to avoid hidden sugars in popular foods like ready-made sauces, soups and some breakfast cereals.
The majority of a person’s sugar intake should come from fresh fruit and vegetables, and from milk, as they also provide other nutrients to our bodies, such as vitamins, minerals and fibre.
The SUGAR SMART Croydon website has more tips and suggestions to reduce added sugar www.croydon.gov.uk/sugarsmart
People can also download a SUGAR SMART chart from the website to monitor progress with family, friends or colleagues.
“We are working on developing an environment in Croydon that supports healthy living. Residents, schools and local businesses are already taking part in SUGAR SMART. Our autumn challenge to go sugar-free for 30 days, aims to encourage more people to eat healthier and reduce the sugar in their daily diet to prevent ill health.”
Councillor Jane Avis, cabinet member for families, health and social care
CASE STUDY: St Mary’s Infant and Junior Schools
St. Mary’s Infant and Junior Schools in Croydon joined the SUGAR SMART campaign this year after becoming one of the borough’s Food Flagship schools to support families to make healthier choices.
The school now only serves water and milk to pupils and the sugar in school meals has been reduced. They have also cut down the sugar content in puddings by 10% and recently the school has introduced a day in the week to serve only yoghurt and fruit for pudding.
The kitchen manager reported that none of the children noticed a difference in taste or stopped choosing those dishes as a result of these changes. The children are also taught about the hidden sugars in common food and drinks during their assemblies and the school produces a healthy eating newsletter with tips for sugar swaps and recipe ideas.
St Mary’s is also creating a new teaching kitchen to support families to learn more about healthy food choices.
SUGAR SMART UK is the brainchild of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and the charity Sustain to make people aware of the adverse health risks of consuming too much sugar. The charity works with businesses to reduce the sugary products they offer and swap these with healthier alternatives for customers.
It is recommended adults consume no more than 30 grams of added sugar a day. Children aged seven to 10 should have no more than six cubes of added sugar daily and it is just five cubes for four to six year olds.
Some people can eat as many as 40 teaspoons of sugar every day, which is more than five times the recommended daily allowance. It is estimated that one in five children start primary school obese or overweight.