Most of us are eating too much added sugar, but it’s tough working out how much is lurking in your food. We’ve selected some of the most popular Australian food items that contain added sugar so you can select the quantity and click calculate to see how sugar quickly adds up.
How much sugar is too much?
If you’re consuming more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day, that’s too much over time. Eating too much added sugar over time is linked to serious health problems, including obesity, tooth decay and chronic diseases such as Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes and Liver Disease.
Where does the 6 teaspoons a day recommendation come from?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends <10% of total energy intake from free sugar. A further reduction to below 5% of total energy from free sugars is suggested for “additional health benefits”. Total energy intake is generally regarded as 2000 cals, so 10% is 200 cals which is the equivalent of 50 grams or 12.5 teaspoons. 5% therefore is 6 teaspoons.
How much added sugar are Australians eating?
The recent paper by Lei et al (1) from Sydney Uni published in British Journal of Nutrition documents food intake in Australia in 2011-12.
The Lei paper states mean Australian intake values for:
"free sugars = 65.1gm
Given 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon, that converts to 16 teaspoons respectively.
The report breaks down into age groups e.g. 14-18 year old free sugar is 88gm so 22 tsp.
What is the difference between total, added and free sugar?
We define “added sugars “ as all sugars added to food or beverages and include honey, syrups and fruit juices (i.e. what WHO calls “free sugars”)
Total sugars = all forms of sugar including natural sources of sugar such as those found in fruit (fructose), vegetables and dairy (lactose).
Free sugar is a term used by the WHO and means added sugar plus honey, syrups and sugars in fruit juices.
Where’s the evidence linking sugar consumption to poor health?
Eating too much added sugar over time is linked to serious health problems, including obesity, tooth decay and chronic diseases such as Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes and Liver Disease. Learn more and view the evidence at www.sugarbyhalf.com/why_sugar
Why the name SugarByHalf?
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) health warning limits recommend 6 teaspoons a day of added sugar for optimal health. The average Australian is eating 16 teaspoons of added sugar a day (so more than double the World Health Organisation’s recommendations).We also believe everyone is different. We don't advocate that everyone needs to completely quit or remove sugar (although there’s nothing wrong with that if you choose to!)
Who are SugarByHalf?
SugarByHalf is a not-for-profit, independent organisation working to ensure Australians live better, stronger and healthier lives through the reduction of sugar-related diseases. SugarByHalf was formed because sugar consumption is one of the the largest and most preventable contributors to obesity and chronic disease.
Australia is being crippled by an epidemic of obesity and chronic disease, a problem that is devastating families and set to bankrupt our health system. In the face of government inaction and a sugar-saturated environment, we believe it’s our responsibility to stand up for future generations and help create a healthier future.
Learn more about our team here.
What are your goals?
You can learn more about us and our goals at our About Us page.
How do I work out how much added sugar is in my food?
It’s tough to work out because there’s so many names for sugar and our current labelling doesn’t differentiate between total and added sugars. To get started, check out our article on how to read labels.
Most treats have more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar. Can I still have them?
Treats or “sometimes foods” such as cakes, ice cream, biscuits and lollies are called discretionary foods by nutritionists for the simple reason that they are unhealthy and usually provide little or no nutritional value. In recent years we’ve seen discretionary food consumption become normalised as a regular habit. For optimal health, these foods need to return to their place as “sometimes foods” and not be eaten everyday.
What can I do to support SugarByHalf?
- Sign up to our newsletter for tips on how to cut back and ways to take action to make our world safer and healthier.
- Like us on Facebook
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- Tell your friends and family about us!
- Help us grow by sharing our content and social media posts with your friends - the more supporters we have on board the louder we can shout out over the top of the ultra-processed food industry.
- Make a tax-deductible donation - we’re 100% independent, not for profit, and run on the generous donations of people like you who care about making the world a safer and healthier place for our kids.
Thanks for your support!
SugarByHalf promotes action to reduce sugar-related diseases so that Australians live better, stronger and healthier lives. This generation of Australian children are on track to live shorter lives than their parents, due to poor diet.
That's why we are focussing on the following pillars of work:
1. Schools Education
We are working on an education program that will be adapted to the curriculum with lesson plans that cover sugar-related themes. The aim is to raise awareness about the causes of obesity and chronic disease, and for students to consider food systems and environments that impact on health. The program will equip school students with the knowledge and understanding required to make healthy nutritional decisions and initiate action at home.
2. Community Awareness Raising
We are working on programs that raise awareness about chronic disease and added sugar and support individuals and communities to take action to make their communities healthier.
We will also launch digital resources that parents and other audiences can access to inform themselves on sugar-related disease and reduce added sugar consumption in their family.
We are seeking to work with values aligned organisations in achieving the above goals which make it easier for Australian families to live better, stronger and healthier lives. Please contact us if you’d like to explore a collaboration.
SugarByHalf is working to ensure Australians live better, stronger and healthier lives through the reduction of sugar-related diseases. But we can’t do this alone.
We are an independent, not-for-profit organisation that relies on the generous donations of people like you. All Australian donations are tax-deductible.
Thank you for your support!Donate
Right now, sugar overload is causing a public health crisis in Australia. Smoking used to be everywhere, but Australians came together and said 'No' to the power of Big Tobacco. Now smoking related illness has declined significantly.
Let's do the same for sugar so that Australians live stronger, better and healthier lives.Sign up