17th July 2015 

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) is advising the government to halve the recommended intake of free sugars to help to address the growing obesity and diabetes crises and to reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Free sugars are those added to food (e.g. sucrose (table sugar), glucose) or those naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices, but exclude lactose in milk and milk products.

In its "Carbohydrates and Health" report, published today, SACN – an independent body of expert nutritionists – recommends free sugars account for no more than 5% of daily energy intake. This is:

19g or 5 sugar cubes for children aged 4 to 6,

24g or 6 sugar cubes for children aged 7 to 10,

30g or 7 sugar cubes for 11 years and over, based on average population diets.

Magic Breakfast’s Head of Nutrition in Schools, Harriet Green, says: “The SACN report highlights that the main sources of refined sugars are sweetened drinks and cereal, confectionery, fruit juice and sugar added at the table. An unhealthy breakfast can be a main source of these types of sugars so at Magic Breakfast we not only provide low sugar, healthy breakfast options to schools, but also help to educate school communities how sugar affects health. We believe more needs to be done to support young children and their families to be able to make the right decisions”.

Carmel McConnell, founder and CEO of Magic Breakfast: “The SACN guidance on sugar today is welcome. Magic Breakfast provides healthy, low sugar breakfasts to 440 schools every day, reaching over 17,500 children. We make good nutrition part of the school day for children who are at risk of hunger and malnourishment and we call on Public Health England and the BDA to partner with us to reduce the damaging impact of excess sugar on the health of these children".