UK – Public Health England has revealed that most of UK consumers eat too much sugar while there is little fruit, vegetable and fibre in their diet based on data collected from 2014 to 2016.
The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) indicated that sugar makes up 13.5% of four to 10-year-olds, and 14.1% of teenagers’ (11 to 18-year-olds) daily calorie intake respectively.
The UK government recommends that both added and natural sugars should not exceed 5% of the energy or calories intake from food or drinks.
However, the government’s campaign for sugar reduction has gained a worthwhile stride since the survey found out that 10 year-olds are now consuming two thirds of the amount of sugary drinks that they did eight years ago – down from 130g per day in 2008 to 2010 to 83g in 2014 to 2016.
Even though sugar consumption for teenagers has decreased by 30%, the intake is more than double that of younger children (191g).
Most teenagers and young adults consume foods such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, and some fizzy drinks and juice drinks, responsible for high calorie intake due to free sugars.
Even though the recommended maximum level for saturated fat intake stands at 11%, adults (19-64 years) take an average of 12.5% of daily calorie intake.
On average, fruits and vegetables are highly consumed by the old (65-74 years) standing at 4.3 portions against the recommended 5 portions per day, followed by adults, then teenagers who only consume 2.7 portions per day.
Average fibre intake in adults is 19g per day, well below the recommended 30g per day.
“Poor diets are all too common in this country and, along with obesity, are now one of the leading causes of disease such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It’s clear from these data that the nation’s diet needs an overhaul.
“A healthy balanced diet is the foundation to good health.
Eating 5 A Day and reducing our intake of calories, sugar, and saturated fat is what many of us need to do to reduce the risk of long term health problems,” said Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE.
According to Eatwell Guide, a balance of healthier and more sustainable food can be achieved from choosing wholegrain or higher fibre versions with less added fat, salt, sugar and incorporating at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables every day.
As obesity and diabetes continue to point fingers at high sugar intake, both manufacturers and consumers are embarking on nutritional labels featuring ‘high’ or ‘low’ to help reduce intake of free sugars.