Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain and also cause tooth decay.  The type of sugars children in the UK eat too much of are called ‘free (or added) sugars’.  These are:

  • Any sugars added to food or drinks. These include sugars in biscuits, chocolate, flavoured yoghurts, breakfast cereals and fizzy drinks. These sugars may be added at home, or by a chef or other food manufacturer. 
  • Sugars in honey, syrups (such as maple, agave and golden), nectars and unsweetened fruit juices, vegetable juices and smoothies. The sugars in these foods occur naturally but still count as free sugars.
  • Sugars found naturally in milk, fruit and vegetables does not count as free sugars.

The government recommends that free sugars should not make up more than 5% of the energy (calories) obtained from food and drink each day.

This means:

  • Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g of free sugars a day (6 sugar cubes).
  • Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 19g of free sugars a day (5 sugar cubes).
  • There's no guideline limit for children under the age of 4, but it's recommended they avoid sugar-sweetened drinks and food with sugar added to it. Find out more about  here: what to feed young children.

What can do schools do to help reduce added sugars on children and young people’s diets?

Sugar Smart UK is a well-known social movement spearheaded by Jamie Oliver and Sustain to help local authorities, organisations, workplaces and individuals to reduce the amount of sugar consumed. Anyone can pledge to become SUGAR SMART - from councils and schools to restaurants, hospitals and independent companies.  Torbay Healthy Learning strongly encourages all Torbay schools to take the pledge and will happily support you through the process.

It’s easy to get started - within the main Sugar Smart website there are ideas for Sugar Smart initiatives to help you find inspiration whether you are a school, workplace or community group.  There is specific guidance and resources for primary schools and secondary schools.  This includes guidance and resources around a host of topics such as accreditation, creation of viral and other creative content, quizzes, how to install and promote water points, improve vending options, set sugar smart challenges and have pupils themselves run Sugar Smart Assemblies.

Sugar Smart September

During Sugar Smart September in Torbay we will be encouraging schools to take the 'sugar smart pledge' and to empower pupils to raise awareness and educate their peers with our pupil led assemblies.