Oh Occupational Health and Wellbeing

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Sugar smart

We are all eating too much sugar and it’s bad for our health. Experts agree the need to cut sugar intakes by half to reduce obesity, diabetes and dental decay. CUH are taking part in the national Sugar Smart campaign with the help of local food partnership Cambridge Sustainable Food. Together we aim to raise awareness about the dangers of excess sugar consumption and support people to make sustainable changes to reduce sugar intake.

For the first time in human history, the world has more people that are overweight than underweight.

Sugar consumption has doubled over the past 30 years and rising obesity levels, especially in childhood, have become a serious health concern. Excessive sugar intake is strongly causative because it is a cheap and available source of extra calories. Soft drinks with >5-8% added sugar have been targeted for tax from 2018, as they are the single largest dietary source of added sugar. Childhood obesity often persists into adulthood, with the related problems of diabetes, heart disease and cancer developing earlier in life. Soaring numbers of tooth extractions for child dental decay make the case for reducing sugar intake clear.

Some people eat as many as 40 teaspoons of sugar every day. That is more than five times the recommended daily allowance.

How much sugar is needed?

For adults and teens 7 teaspoons daily (30g)
School-aged children 6 teaspoons daily (24g)
Early years children 5 teaspoons daily (19g)

This includes all sugar added to and hidden in foods and drinks.

This advice, if acted upon, will help drive down obesity and improve health and wellbeing.

Where do we find sugar?

Sugar is found naturally in a variety of sources such as fruits, vegetables, honey and milk. Those foods contain valuable nutrients as well as sugars and form part of a healthy, diverse diet.  Sugar is added to foods and drinks like cakes, biscuits & cereals; sweets, desserts & confectionery; jams & spreads; milkshakes and soft drinks.  These foods are high in sugar and calories, and are best thought of as an occasional treat rather than a daily essential. Hidden sugars are easily consumed without realizing and are found in processed foods like bottled sauces & condiments; breakfast cereal & bars; flavoured yoghurt and ready meals.

What can I do to reduce sugar?

Make a sugar pledge.

One change for one week

  • Sugary drinks contribute one third of our sugar intake - Swap sugary drinks for sugar free ones
  • Drink milk for sustained energy levels and a calcium boost
  • Keep hydrated by swapping for plain water

Dump the Junk - boost brainpower and maintain energy levels with slow release carbs

  • Eat cereals with no-added sugar – start your day with porridge, wholegrain cereal or muesli
  • Add natural sweetness in the form of dried fruits or a drizzle of honey to natural yoghurt
  • Give up sugar in tea and coffee (you could try sweetener instead)
  • Be sweet to your team and bring in low sugar treats for a special occasion

Beat the Crash - avoid feeling drained mid shift with proteins, healthy fats and wholegrains

  • Avoid sugar cravings by eating a sustaining meal, sandwich, wrap or roll
  • Eat protein-rich snacks like nuts, seeds, quinoa, beans or whole natural yoghurt
  • Keep topped up with dried, fresh or frozen fruit throughout your working day or shift

Support your team, department or shift with sugar smart ideas

Share your photos, tweet your pledge, tag your mates #CUHsugarpledge

For more information see the Sugar Smart website (opens in a new tab).