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Kids are having over 2 times more sugar than they should!

A Change4Life character dropping a range of unhealthy foods from one hand and balancing a range of healthier foods in the other hand

Be sugar smart

Kids are getting half their sugar intake from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks. It's time for some food smart choices!

Kids are getting a lot of their sugar from...

  • Fizzy drinks
  • Juice drinks

  • Buns
  • Cakes
  • Pastries
  • Biscuits

  • Breakfast cereals
  • Yoghurts

  • Sweets
  • Chocolate
  • Ice cream

* Data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, 2018

How sugar affects our kids

"X-ray" image of an illustrated person, showing fat building up in their body and their stomach full of sugar

Too much sugar is bad for children's health as it can lead to the build-up of harmful fat on the inside that we can't see. This fat can cause weight gain and serious diseases like type 2 diabetes, which people are getting younger than ever before, and heart disease and some cancers. It can also lead to painful tooth decay and every 10 minutes, a child in England has a tooth removed in hospital.

How much is too much?

The maximum daily amounts of added sugar are:

4 to 6 years

5 cubes (19 grams) a day

7 to 10 years

6 cubes (24 grams) a day

11+ years

7 cubes (30 grams) a day

* 1 cube = 4g sugar

What you need to know about...

Added sugar

When we talk about added sugar, we mean sugar that has been added to food and drink to sweeten it. It could be added by the food manufacturer, by a cook or chef, or by you at home. It doesn't just mean the sugar you add to your tea — it also includes honey, syrups, fruit juice and nectars.

Milk and plain yoghurts

You don't need to worry about the sugar in plain milk and yoghurts as this isn't added sugar.

Fruit and veg

You don't need to worry about the sugar in whole fruits and vegetables because this isn't added sugar. Plus they contain vitamins and minerals, are a great source of fibre, and count towards your 5 A Day. But remember to keep dried fruit to mealtimes to protect your teeth.

Juice and smoothies

Fruit and vegetable juice and smoothies are sugary. They still count towards your 5 A Day, but remember to limit the amount to no more than 150ml a day — and keep to mealtimes as they can cause tooth decay.

A box of low-sugar wheat biscuits scattering the naughty Change4Life sugar cube invaders


There can be a lot of sugar in everyday food and drinks. Try our food smart tips to help you cut back!

Easy ways to cut back

Sugar smart shopper

Use the Food Scanner smartphone app to see how much sugar is in your favourite food or drink — look for products that are low in sugar!

Liven up your yoghurt

Choose low fat, lower-sugar yoghurt instead of sugary yoghurt, ice cream and sugary desserts. Make it more interesting by adding some chopped fruit or berries.

A banana, sandwich and apple

DIY snacks

Ask your kids to help prepare healthier snacks from a selection of fruit, low sugar cereal and unsalted nuts – they're more likely to eat it if they've made it.

Only have one 150 ML glass of fruit juice in your 5 A Day

5 A Day and fruit juice

Fruit juice counts as 1 of your 5 A Day, no matter how much you have. So limit the amount you and your kids drink to no more than 150ml a day.

Leave it on the shelf

It's the simplest trick in the book. If you do not have biscuits and sweets in the house, you will not be able to eat them!

Go bananas!

Try adding a sliced banana to wholewheat biscuits or low fat, lower-sugar yoghurt. You can also use it as a healthy topping for toast – a great way to get one of your 5 A Day.

Shop smart

Shop smart

At the supermarket, look out for sugar-free and lower-sugar versions of your family favourites.

Get the free Food Scanner app

Scan barcodes using the app to find out what's inside popular food and drink.

Download the Food Scanner on the App Store   Download the Food Scanner on Google Play

Image from the Food Scanner TV advert: Change4Life characters holding up a box of sugary cereal, and a hand holding a smartphone with the Food Scanner app showing how much sugar is in the cereal

If you don't have the app...

Some food labels have traffic light coloured labels to show the sugar content. Choose more greens and ambers, and fewer reds.

Food label

Red means this food is HIGH in sugar. Think about how often you choose it and how much of it you eat.

Amber means this food has a MEDIUM amount of sugar. This makes it an OK choice, although going for green is even better.

Green means it's LOW in sugar, which makes it a healthier choice.