Too much sugar has a big impact on our health

Our food choices are influenced by how food is marketed to us, the availability of cheap, fast, convenience foods and many other factors, including our cooking skills, environment, jobs, friends and family. But, together, we can start taking back control. Learn about healthy choices, set yourself a goal, no matter how small, and share your success with others. The more we support each other to make healthy choices, the easier it will become.

How much is too much?

The limit varies slightly depending on whether you’re male or female, but Public Health England recommends anyone over the age of eleven should have no more than 30 grams of added sugar a day, that’s the equivalent of 7 teaspoons.

What are the risks of too much sugar?

Poor diet and being overweight or obese is contributing to health problems in our city. In 2015/2016 over 30,000 adults in Sheffield were living with diabetes and over 76,000 with high blood pressure.

Sugar fact: 65% of adults in Sheffield are overweight or obese

Top tips for cutting down on sugar

There are some simple things we can all do to reduce the amount of sugar our family eats and drinks each day.

  • Stick to less than a 150ml glass of fruit juice per day
  • Swap sugar in your tea or coffee to a sweetener
  • Try reduced-sugar jam or fruit spreads on toast
  • Add fruit to cereal instead of sugar if you do fancy something sweet
  • Swap sugar in recipes with spices like cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Keep a food diary to help you stay on track
  • Always check the label and compare amounts in the Change4life app

Reducing the risks for teenagers

As our children get older they can prepare and buy their own food and drinks, which leaves them open to making unhealthy choices. While we can’t always control what they consume when they’re at school or out with friends, there are lots of things we can do to make home a low-sugar zone.

For instance, a typical teenager who eats two bowls of sugary cereal for breakfast could be having more than double their recommended daily limit of sugar in one meal alone! Ketchup is another big culprit that can easily add up to too much sugar. Just one dollop contains 1 teaspoon of sugar. Buying healthier alternatives and keeping high sugar options out of the house can help.

  • Swap to less sugary cereal such as Weetabix, Shredded Wheat or porridge
  • Keep a fruit bowl out at all times to encourage healthy snacking
  • Store high sugar foods out of sight
  • Buy small chocolate bars (15-20g) no more than 100 calories e.g. Milky Way or Curly Wurly rather than a family size or 40g bar
  • Stock up on low or zero sugar drinks

The health benefits

Small actions, like switching to low-sugar spreads or cordials, can really make a difference to your family’s health and help prevent problems, such as diabetes and obesity in the future.

Sugar swaps - how to avoid the worst offenders (11+)

Click or tap the card to reveal the swap

Snacks Swaps

Glazed ring doughnut


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Bag of popcorn


Chocolate bar


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Caramel rice cake


Blueberry muffin


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Scotch pancake


Drink Swaps

Bottle of Cola


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Fizzy water

with no added sugar cordial or a sugar free fizzy drink


Coffee shop flavoured hot chocolate with whipped cream


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Low calorie hot chocolate sachet

made with milk or water


Based on approximate quantities; taking an average from a collation of popular brands and supermarket product