Week 6 - sugar and salt
Eating too much salt and sugar can have an impact on our health
Having too much sugar can contribute to weight gain and tooth decay. The type of sugars we are consuming too much of are referred to as free sugars. This includes sugar that has been added to food and drink, syrups, honey, and unsweetened fruit and vegetable juice/smoothies. It does not include the sugar found in milk and its derivatives, or fruit and vegetables which are intact.
Guidelines on the maximum daily amount of
free sugars for children
|4 – 6yrs||7 – 10yrs||From 11yrs|
|5 sugar cubes or 19 grams||6 sugar cubes or 24grams||7 sugar cubes or 30grams|
Free sugars can be added in foods such as chocolates, sweets, cakes and biscuits. They can also be found in some fizzy and juice drinks.
Here are some tips on how to cut down on free sugars:
- For breakfast, instead of having a sugary cereal opt for plain whole wheat biscuits or plain porridge. Puddings can be low sugar yoghurts, a piece of fruit or fruit salad.
- Sugary snacks can be swapped for vegetable sticks, rice cakes, or fruit.
- Swap sugary fizzy drinks and sugary squash for water, lower fat milk or sugar free drinks.
The sugar in unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies becomes a free sugar, so limit these drinks to 150ml per day.
For more information on sugar swaps take a look at the links provided below:
When checking for sugar content on food labels look at the carbohydrates ‘of which sugars’ nutritional information. Remember this does not tell you about the amount of free sugars but it can help you compare and choose food and drinks that are lower in total sugar. The ingredients list can also give you a clue if the product is higher in free sugars, as this list starts with the ingredient that is the largest. Look out for other words used by manufacturers to describe free sugars: sucrose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, molasses, fruit juice concentrate, and corn syrup.
It is also useful to know the meaning of terms such as no added sugar and unsweetened, this information can be found on the link below:
See how much sugar you are consuming in some everyday food and drinks using the Change4Life sugar calculator!
Our body needs salt to function properly, it plays a major role in functions such as transporting water in our body. However, when we have too much salt in our diet it can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure and water retention.
Many foods we eat are not obviously salty, as the salt has already been added. Examples include crisps, salted nuts, readymade meals, and sauces.
For more information see the link below:
Guidelines on the maximum daily amount of salt for children
|4 – 6yrs||7 – 10yr||11yrs +|
|3 grams||5 grams||6 grams|
How to reduce salt intake
Simple changes can help you lower the amount of salt in your diet:
- Reduce intake of salty processed food and readymade meals.
- Try to make meals at home.
- Don’t add salt on the table; when eating out or having takeaways ask for no added salt.
For more information on how to lower your salt intake click on the button below
Salt is made up of sodium and chloride, some manufacturers will mention the sodium content on the food label; to convert this to salt remember 1 gram of sodium translates to 2.5 grams of salt.
Try making our easy to make avocado and butter bean hummus dip where you are in control of how much salt you add – click on the button below for the recipe.
Task for child/young person
- Make one change to reduce your sugar consumption e.g. swap fizzy drinks for water.
- Make a swap with a particular snack you eat that contains salt e.g. crisps for a low salt product e.g. plain nuts.
Don’t forget salt and sugar can be added in some of our everyday foods. Just because we can’t see them it does not mean they are not in the food.
When we make food ourselves we are more in control of how much sugar and salt we add. For example if you are making a recipe why not reduce the amount of sugar and salt.
Try out the avocado and butterbean hummus recipe by clicking on the button above.