Change4Life Sugar Swaps launches for kids – but you should get involved too
The Change4Life Sugar Swaps campaign starts today to encourage parents to cut down the amount of sugar their children consume by making one or more simple swaps. But, we say, why stop at children? The Best of Health believes that cutting down on sugar is important for anyone of any age, particularly people aged 50 and over.
Guidelines state that no more that 10% of a person’s daily energy or calorie intake should be made up of sugar. Eating and drinking too much sugar means extra calories, which causes fat to build up inside the body. This can lead to heart disease, some cancers or type 2 diabetes later in life. Recent research also suggests sugar could contribute more to high blood pressure than salt. Sugar can also have a devastating impact upon dental health, an integral part of overall health. According to Public Health England, tooth decay was shockingly the most common reason for hospital admissions for children aged five to nine in 2012 to 2013.
Four Simple Sugar Swaps
The latest Change4Life campaign, set up by Public Health England, recommends four simple sugar swaps to choose from, tackling different ‘sugar occasions’ in the day. But these can be applied to anyone – not just children.
- The breakfast swap: sugary cereal for plain cereal, like a wholewheat biscuit cereal.
- The drink swap: from sugary drinks to sugar-free or no-added-sugar drinks.
- The after school (which we can call the after work) swap: for example, from muffin to fruited teacake.
- The pudding swap: for example from ice cream to low-fat lower-sugar yoghurt.
Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, says: “We are all eating too much sugar and the impact this has on our health is evident. The Change4Life Sugar Swaps campaign is about taking small steps to address this. We know from past campaigns that making simple swaps works and makes a real difference. This year we wanted to be even more single minded in our approach, which is why we are focusing on sugar alone.”
More Shelf Space for Sugar-Free Drinks at the Co-op
Change4Life Sugar Swaps is supported by supermarket chains including Asda, Aldi, Tesco and the Co-operative. The Co-operative Food is even boosting shelf space for healthier drinks, as part of its support for the Sugar Swaps campaign, to encourage shoppers to switch to ‘no added sugar’ or ‘sugar free’ drinks to improve their health.
The move by The Co-op will see it provide 25% more space on shelves to drinks which are sugar free or have low or no added sugar, as part of a five-point action plan it is implementing to provide consumers with healthier choices. The Co-operative Food has already removed almost 100 million teaspoons of sugar from its shelves, helping to cut 1.5 billion calories.
The creation of a “health and well-being” range of soft drinks, using only natural ingredients and sweeteners, will also be introduced by the end 2015. Over 90% of all The Co-operative own brand soft drinks (squash, fruit juice, carbonated drinks and water) is either sugar free, no added Sugar or low in sugar.
Cathryn Higgs, food policy manager, The Co-operative Food, says: “The change4life Sugar Swaps campaign enables us to highlight the importance of sugar awareness in drinks. We were the first retailer to put a sugar advisory note on the label of our own brand sugar sweetened soft drinks, fruit juices and smoothies and the new no added sugar range, along with the 5 point pledge are just more examples of The Co-operative’s commitment to helping our customers to be sugar aware.”