Sugar Awareness Week

Sugar Awareness Week is running from 8th to 14th November, raising awareness of the impact of too much sugar in our diet. The aim of the week is to not only get people talking about sugar reduction but also get the food industry and government to take action so we can all easily access and enjoy healthy food.

It is recommended that we have no more than 5% of our energy intake should come from sugar. This is equivalent to no more than 30g of free sugar per day for adults.  For children and young people the maximum intake is as follows:

Children under 4 = avoid sugar sweetened drinks and foods with added sugar

Children aged 4 - 6 years = 19g/day

Children aged 7 - 10 years = 24g/day

Children aged 11 - 18 years = 30g/day

The most recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that intake of sugar in the UK is higher than these recommendations.

Age Group

% of energy intake from free sugar

1.5y - 3y


4y - 10y


11y - 18y


19y - 64y


65y +


National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2016/17 to 2018/19)

Too much sugar in our diet can have a knock on effect to our health, increasing our risk of tooth decay, overweight, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.

Added sugar can be hidden in a range of foods including some foods you may not think would contain it, such as ready meals and ready made sauces. Research has shown that one fifth of an adults added sugar intake comes from soft drinks, for 11 - 18 year olds this rises to one third.

This year’s Sugar Awareness Week is focusing is on snacks. Have you ever noticed that food packaging will often say they are ‘A source of calcium’ or ‘natural’ or ‘1 of your 5 a day’? This can often make us think that the food we are eating is healthy. Unfortunately what we are often not told is that the food is also packed with sugar.

As part of Sugar Awareness Week, Action for Sugar has released results from their research which looks at snacks aimed at babies and toddlers. They found that of the 73 products surveyed all of them had some kind of health claim on the packaging and 37% would have a red label for sugar on the traffic light system. Products are often marketed as having no added sugar when in fact they are sweetened with a fruit concentrate - which is classed as a free sugar. The results raise concern that babies and toddlers are getting used to having a sweet snack at a young age which can have an effect on food choices throughout their life.

It can be confusing to know what a healthier choice would be or how to go about making some snack swaps. The Change4Life website has some information and tips on cutting down your sugar intake.

What swaps could you make to help you reduce how much sugar you eat?