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Just a spoonful of sugar – my take on the sugar war

I recently read a news article attacking a well-known brand for producing ice cream which contains, what the writer considers too much sugar and comparing it to a budget brand which contains very little sugar. It has provoked me to think a little more deeply about the sugar content in our everyday food items.

I am fully supportive of a war on hidden sugars in children’s foods. In my opinion food and drink products marketed as being healthy for children should not contain more than 5% sugar – simple! What concerns me is that the governments proposed sugar tax may become a war on all foods that contain sugar….even those that are supposed to. 

Cakes, biscuits, ice cream, desserts, sweets, jams etc are all foods that are supposed to contain sugar. If the sugar content is significantly reduced the taste of these products will be hugely affected. Consumers will not want to buy a cake or dessert that doesn’t taste sweet so how on earth will this work? It will work because food manufacturers will find other ways to improve flavour to make these products appeal once more….. I wonder what alternative chemicals & additives will be put into our ‘sweet’ items to achieve this?

When I compared the ingredients of the two ice creams in question, it’s true that the one brand did have a lot more sugar in it. However, it was this brand that contained just four ingredients, all of them natural and things that you would expect to find in ice cream. Not a long list of chemicals and additives as was the case with the other brand. I know which one I would choose to purchase for my children; and yes it does contain a lot of sugar so therefore it would not be good for them to eat it everyday. It would be a treat. 

The word treat means: “an occasional event or item that gives one great pleasure” What’s pleasurable about an ice cream that contains hardly any sugar and lots of chemicals? Surely a sensible sized portion of ice cream with real ingredients and yes even sugar is the better option? 

I think the point I’m trying to make is of course hidden sugars in ‘children’s healthy foods’ are a serious problem and one that needs immediate action. But, is a blanket rule on reducing sugar in all food products necessarily the solution? Isn’t it okay that the ‘sweet items’ have sugar in them? 

I would like to see the government invest more time & money in supporting and educating children (and some adults!) so that they are better able to make sensible choices when it comes to food, and in particular treats?

This is exactly what we try to do at Mighty Chefs. We teach children that treats are okay, they are fun and they taste great, but if we have too much of them they are not good for us. 

During our sessions the children sometimes make sweet ‘treat’ recipes that contain sugar, they also make plenty of recipes and snacks that really are healthy and contain very little or no sugar. 

We teach children about balance, and about the delights of making and eating foods that are wholesome, natural and really good for us. We also teach them that it’s equally delightful to make and eat things that are delicious & sweet and sometimes a little indulgent. Most importantly we teach them about how these different foods will affect our bodies. They learn about the good effects that come from eating healthily and that bad effects of over-indulging on too many ‘treats’ So far the children we have worked with absolutely get it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as well.

Emily 🙂



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