How much sugar?

There is, quite rightly I believe, more and more talk about the amount of sugar in our diets.  Over the coming weeks I am going to use examples of food or beverage items you may or may not come across to highlight just how much sugar there is in some items.

Current World Health Organisation guidelines talk about the recommended amount of sugar in your diet as being less than 10% of your daily total energy intake.  But what does this equate to?  Well figures vary slightly depending on the source you use, so for the sake of clarity, I cut and pasted the following from the NHS web site..

The new advice says children aged 11 or over and adults should consume no more than seven teaspoons of added sugar a day – 30g

Children should consume much less than that. The report recommends no more than 19g for children aged four to six and no more than 24g for children aged seven to 10.

As an example of how much sugar can be found in food and beverage items over teh coming weeks I am going to highlight examples here.  I am not picking on any particular producer, retailer or manufacturer, but to start with, as it is being pushed as a seasonal favourite, let’s start with….

Starbucks Eggnog Latte

Described as such..

This perennial holiday favorite is made with rich, steamed eggnog and our signature espresso. Then we top it off with a dusting of ground nutmeg for the perfect finish.

Yum, yum, sounds delicious, if that is your kind of thing..  Remember, the NHS / WHO guidelines for adult are no more than 30g of sugar per day.  So how does the Eggnog Latte fare?  Well, they offer different serving sizes so here is the list (figures for sugars content taken from the Starbucks web site).

% of RDA
Small / Short (8 fl oz) 26g 87
Tall (12 fl oz) 42g 140
Grande (16 fl oz) 52g 173
Venti (20 fl oz) 68g 227

So, a small 8 fl oz (and 8 fl oz is accepted as being 1 cup) Eggnog Latte gives you 87% of your daily recommended sugar intake.  OK, some would say it’s a seasonal treat, but none the less it’s an eye-opener.  Oh, and for the record, the standard that people often seem to compare against is how much sugar there is in a can of Coca Cola.  Well, the answer is (for a 12 fl oz / 355 ml can) 39g.

I appreciate it is an area of great confusion.  On one hand you have the government telling us to eat 5-a-day, but then we are told too much fruit is bad for us.  The different terms used can be hard to comprehend – sugars, free sugars, natural sugars, carbohydrates etc etc.  It wasn’t long ago that we were told fat is bad, and so we were encouraged to eat fat-free or low fat foods, but they turned out to be bland and unpalatable, so the  manufacturers had to stuff them with sugar to make them taste “nice”.  I don’t intend to get into the complexities of these issues here, suffice to say that it is obvious that anything in excess isn’t good for your health.  And as you will hopefully see, sugar is quite rightly a cause for real concern.  Its health effects go far beyond obesity, diabetes and tooth decay, but that is for another day.

I hope this helps.  Any questions please do just ask..

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