Some sugar in our diets is not a problem, however in the UK most of us eat more than is recommended.

What is the problem with having too much sugar? Too much can cause teeth to rot and can lead to weight gain. If we become overweight we are more at risk of developing health problems including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Where does it come from? The main sources of added sugar are fizzy drinks, juice drinks, cakes, pastry’s and biscuits, sweets, chocolate, ice cream and breakfast cereals. Sugar can also be hidden in: ready meals, baked beans, and sauces.

In the UK on average children have 2 times more sugar then they should have, and half of their sugar is from snacks and sugary drinks.

How much should we have? The chart below shows the recommended maximum intake of added sugar (from Change 4 Life);

What is the difference between added sugar and natural sugar?

Added sugar is what we add to food ourselves as well as sugar that is added during food manufacture, or by chefs and cooks.

Sugar is found naturally in milk, whole fruit and vegetables, this doesn’t count as added sugar, as these foods provide vitamins and minerals and fibre they are important to include in our diet. Try to include at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Fruit and vegetable juice and smoothies, are good to include in your diet but because juicing destroys most of the fibre, keep to just 1 small glass (150ml) a day and have them at mealtimes so they do less damage to teeth.

How do I know how much sugar is in food? There are a few ways to check how much sugar is in food.

Ingredients list are written in order from the largest ingredient to the smallest, so if sugar (or any of its other names) are near the beginning of the list the product is likely to be high in sugar.

Other names for sugar are sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, hydrolysed starch and invert sugar, syrups (eg corn syrup), honey, molasses, dextrose and treacle.

Packets have to list the content of sugars, however this unfortunately includes all sugar (natural and added), so looking at the ingredients list as well is useful.

Traffic lights, these show how much sugar is in either a portion or 100grams. Red – high, take care, orange – go easy, green – low, good to go. Be careful to check the portion size that described.

If there are no traffic lights: Any food over 22.5 grams per 100 grams is high. Low sugar options have 5 grams or less per 100 grams. With drinks over 11.25 grams per 100ml is high, below 2.5 grams per 100 grams is low.

Change 4 Life have a free Sugar Smart app – you download the app and scan barcodes to reveal how much sugar is in your favourite food and drink.