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Let’s make some Sugar Swaps!

We know we need to watch how much sugar we eat each day, but the new guidelines mean that we need to try to reduce this even further.

The problem is that too much sugar means extra calories, which in turn can lead to stored fat in the body and diseases like heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.

Around a quarter of the added sugar in kids’ diets comes from sugary drinks. That’s why the new advice is that sugary drinks have no place in a child’s daily diet. Swap to water; lower-fat milks; sugar free, diet and no added sugar drinks instead.

Eating too much sugar can also cause tooth decay, so be sure to clean your teeth twice a day and check your kids are doing the same.

What’s the maximum amount of sugar we can have?

A typical 8-year-old shouldn’t have more than 6 cubes of added sugar* per day.

Sugar Swaps Chart

*Added sugars: These are free sugars that have been added by a food manufacturer, cook or consumer to a food and include those sugars naturally found in unsweetened fruit juice, honey and syrups. It doesn’t include sugars naturally found in milk and milk products and intact fruit and veg. Watch out for some of the words on the label used by food manufacturers to describe free sugars: cane sugar, honey, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, fruit concentrate, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, glucose, nectars and crystalline sucrose.

†Based on a 4g sugar cube.

Find out more about food labels

Remember, eating wholegrain cereals and plenty of fruit and vegetables helps to ensure children are eating enough fibre. Fibre is an important part of a healthy balanced diet.

Count the cubes and cut the sugar

You might be surprised to see how much sugar is in your food and drink For example, there are 7 cubes in 1 can of sugary fizzy drink‡ – more than the maximum daily amount for an 8 year old.

The Change4Life Sugar Swaps app is designed to show quickly and easily how much total sugar is in the food and drink you're having. Just scan the barcode and see how much total sugar it contains§. This is an early version of the app but we are working to add more products. We’d really like your help to make it better, so let us know what you think. You can contact us at change4life@phe.gov.uk. Let’s start scanning!

Get the app for iPhone (Google Play coming soon)

There are lots more handy hints and tips to help you cut down your family's sugar intake on the Change4Life website and Facebook page. Take a look and see.

You can also download the Sugar Swaps at-a-glance checklist to help you make sugar swaps for you and your family throughout the day (PDF, 236kb)

Sugar Swaps Checklist

We think we don't eat much sugar - but it all adds up!

The highest contributors to added sugar in the diet of 4 to 10 year olds are:

  • 30% from drinks (including 16% from soft drinks)
  • 29% mainly from biscuits, cakes and breakfast cereals
  • 22% from sweets, chocolate, table sugar, jams and other sweet spreads
  • 12% from yoghurts, fromage frais, ice-cream, and other dairy desserts.

Sugar Swaps muffin swap

‡ Based on Kantar data 2014

§ The number of sugar cubes featured is based on total sugar in grams per portion/100g/pack divided by 4 grams (the weight of one 4g sugar cube). Images are a representation only.

Smart swap is a registered trade mark of the Licensor and is used under licence