Sugar

sugar bowl
Adults in Northern Ireland are eating double the maximum recommended amount of sugar and children are eating around three times more sugar than they should. Eating too many calories, whether they come from fat or sugar, can lead to weight gain and ultimately obesity. Sugary foods and drinks can also cause tooth decay.

Industry Sugar Reduction Guidance published by Public Health England (PHE) in March 2017 sets out approaches the food industry should take to reduce the total amount of sugar children consume through everyday food. As a result, around 200,000 tonnes of sugar could be removed from UK diets, per year, by 2020.

The guidance sets out the recommended sugar limits for nine food groups, as well as guidance on how the reductions could be achieved by the food industry. The food groups included in the first phase of sugar reduction are:

  • breakfast cereals
  • yoghurts
  • biscuits
  • cakes and morning goods
  • puddings
  • chocolate confectionery
  • sweet confectionery
  • ice cream       
  • sweet spreads

In Northern Ireland the Food Standards Agency is working with local small and medium sized businesses to to raise awareness of the new guidance and align with the ambition outlined by PHE to remove 20% of sugar from foods in these categories by 2020, by supporting local food businesses with food product improvement.