Children are on course across the UK to eat double the recommended amount of sugar – around 4,800 cubes – per year, Public Health England has said.

 

The figures from the body show children aged 4 to 10-years-old should have the equivalent of five or six cubes of sugar a day. But in reality it is around 13 cubes.

It follows criticism by Public Health England on big pub dishes and the quantity of sugar within some of the items on the menu. 

In terms of 'worst offenders', soft drinks top the list – with more sugar consumed that way than ice cream and puddings combined.

 

How can pubs help?

  • Provide free table water and paper straws for dining families
  • Offer natural or low/no added sugar fruit drinks for children
  • But be cautious. Public Health England warns that fruit juice without added sugar is a healthier alternative, but "it contributes a significant amount of sugar to children's diets when consumed in large amounts"
  • Offer lower fat milk cartons
  • Ensure dishes for children are low in sugar
  • Offer 'good foods' such as plain rice cakes, toast, fruit teacakes, malted loaf or bagels with lower fat spread
  • Don't just offer ice cream for dessert – offer kids-friendly healthier alternatives, including fresh fruit
  • Public Health England has created a list of the worst food items (see below) for kids. Consider whether any of these should be on your menu

 

The worst offenders

  • Sugary soft drinks - 10 per cent
  • Buns, cakes, pastries and fruit pies - 10 per cent
  • Sugars, including table sugar, preserves and sweet spreads - 9 per cent
  • Biscuits - 9 per cent
  • Breakfast cereals - 8 per cent
  • Chocolate confectionery - 7 per cent
  • Sugar confectionery - 7 per cent
  • Yoghurt, fromage frais and other dairy desserts - 6 per cent
  • Ice cream - 5 per cent
  • Puddings - 4 per cent

Public Health England is working with the food industry to cut 20 per cent of sugar from the foods children consume most by 2020.

 

Manufacturers

Some food service firms have already begun work, such as Bidfood, who has reduced sugar in its ice cream range by 23 per cent and four cake recipes have been reformulated to achieve a sugar reduction of an average 19 per cent.

Holly Marrero Easson, brand controller at Bidfood, said: "As part of the reformulation we have also focused on 'smart swaps', which cut sugar but maintain a great, if not even better, flavour. For example, in our lemon drizzle tray cake we now use Sicilian lemon drizzle instead of syrup and the Victoria Sponge now contains strawberry filling with a higher fruit content."

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: "We're barely halfway through the year and already children have consumed far more sugar than is healthy – it's no surprise this is contributing to an obesity crisis."