How much sugar should I eat every day?
The World Health Organization recommends that no more than 5% of a person’s daily calories come from free sugars. But what does that mean?
- FREE SUGARS – these are sugars added to food and drink, and sugars found naturally in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates
- INTRINSIC SUGARS – these are sugars found in vegetables, fruit and milk. They are often referred to as “naturally occurring” sugars
- TOTAL SUGARS – these are the sum total of all sugars, free and intrinsic. In the UK the Government’s guideline daily maximum for the average adult for total sugars is 90g. In the US there is no set upper limit on total sugars and the World Health Organization and the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) also do not set a limit on total sugars.
- The World Health Organization gives guidance on the consumption of free sugars. They recommend that our daily intake should be no more than 5% of our total energy intake. This means that:
- Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 19g or 5 teaspoons of free sugars per day
- Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g or 6 teaspoons of free sugars per day
- Children aged 11 years and upwards, as well as adults, should have no more than 30g or 7 teaspoons of free sugars per day
What does SugarWise mean on food and drink?
When you see the SugarWise logo on food and drink this means
- Free sugars, the ones it’s recommended we cut down on, have been checked and meet the standard of no more than 5% of total calories
- You don’t have to scour the ingredients or look at their order or check for different words for sugar, the product has been independently assessed and has met that standard
- The nutritional facts panel and traffic light system does not distinguish between intrinsic and free sugars (the ones you don’t need to worry about and the ones you do). But you can trust that a certified product has independently checked those levels, and that the free sugars levels in certified products are within the recommendations
- There are also absolutely no added sugars or foods used for their sweetening properties in certified products
It is important to get the majority of your sugar intake from raw whole fruit and vegetables and milk, as these foods offer other nutrients to our bodies, such as vitamins, minerals and fibre, and to limit your consumption of free sugars that do not tend to come bundled in with all these benefits.