Last updated: 3 January 2024

Next review: 3 January 2025

Sugary foods and drinks are one of the largest contributors to obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and teeth problems. It is also responsible for 30,000 deaths per year, and costs the NHS some £6.1bn annually.

The recommended daily allowance:

  • For children aged 4 to 6 years: 19g (about 5 teaspoons) a day;
  • For children aged 7 to 10 years: 24g (about 6 teaspoons) a day;
  • For anyone aged 11 and over, including adults: 30g (7.5 tsp of sugar) each day.

Sugar free pledge for schools, businesses and organisations

Through the Sugar Smart campaign, we want to encourage schools, businesses, and organisations to make small changes to their food/ drinks service so people eat less sugar and drink more water.

Businesses and organisations are urged to commit to supporting customers, service users and residents consume less sugar (such as, by signing up to Healthier Catering Commitment for businesses). 

They will also get:

  • Resources such as marketing material, case studies, how-to guides and templates on sugar smart 
  • Action log to write down all the actions taken by the business/ organisation, as well as how many people were involved
  • Sugar Smart Certificate for your setting, once you have added detail on 3 or more actions, which can be displayed at your venue.

We are also encouraging schools to join the Mayor of London's "Water Only" action to help their pupils and staff fight several sugar-related problems. There are rewards and resources to support any schools participating in this.

Cutting down sugar at workplace

  • Replace sugary drinks with water
  • Cut down sugar in hot drinks and replace it with alternatives
  • Provide healthier alternatives at staff meetings and events, such as fruits
  • Include fruits and healthy food when you bring treats for your colleagues to share

Sign up to our Healthier Catering Commitment and enjoy the benefits for your business and customers, including helping to attract new customers looking or healthier food and drink options.

Reducing sugar intake at home

Read the labels

  • 5g or less total sugars per 100g is low
  • Over 5g total sugars per 100g is high
  • Check the ingredients list to find out whether sugar has been added to a product. Change for Life App can help you find out sugar scanner by simply scanning your food products

Drink less sweet drinks

  • Milk or even sparkling water with lemon is a better alternative to sugary/ fizzy drinks, hot chocolates and caramel lattes
  • Many soft drinks are very high in sugar and exceed the recommended level (30g), such as: 
    • A 500ml bottle of Coca Cola contains 13 teaspoons (52g)
    • A 500ml bottle of Volvic flavoured water contains 6 teaspoons (24g)
    • Some hot chocolates and caramel lattes can contain up to 17 teaspoons (68g)

Cut down on sugary food

  • Use reduced-sugar alternatives for your breakfast and toasts; such as bread with a low sugar fruit spread, sliced banana or lower-fat cream cheese instead of high-sugar jam, marmalade, syrup, chocolate spread or honey on your toast.  
  • Check nutrition labels to help you pick the foods with less added sugar, or go for the reduced- or lower-sugar version.
  • Try reducing the sugar you use in your recipes.
  • Choose unsweetened wholegrain breakfast cereals that aren't frosted, or coated with chocolate or honey.