Researchers say these snacks are a completely unnecessary source of sugars and calories, contributing to tooth decay, obesity and type 2 diabetes and should NOT form part of a child’s 5 A Day. The
new government has urged to set sugar reduction targets immediately.
The research has revealed huge amount of hidden sugars in seemingly ‘healthy’ fruit snacks aimed at children , showed out of all the products surveyed, nearly all (99%) would receive a ‘red’ colour coded warning on the label for HIGH sugars per 100g.
In addition, grossly misleading packaging claims state these fruit snacks can contribute to ‘1 of your 5’ portions of fruit and vegetables a day. However, the new school food standards do not permit schools to offer children these products because they are categorised as ‘confectionary’. Therefore food manufacturers must adhere to the same standards to protect our children’s health.
Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and Chairman of Action on Sugar, told Asian Lite, “The new Conservative government has a tremendous opportunity to take control of public health and reduce the huge burden on the NHS caused by the pandemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes, linked to high sugar intakes. This survey illustrates the fact that the food industry is the cause of this pandemic, by taking something as natural as fruit and ruining it by adding sugar.
“The new Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, must set sugar reduction targets across the whole of the food industry to gradually reduce the amount of sugar they add to our food. If the food industry does not respond then punitive taxes on these unhealthy products need to be imposed.”
Kawther Hashem, nutritionist at Action on Sugar says, “It’s high time food manufacturers stop adding unnecessary sugars and calories to already sweet products. Check the label and if in doubt – eat fresh fruit. Ready sliced fruit in snack pots are better than processed fruit snacks.
“To eat the same number of grams of sugars in a processed fruit snack (18g) your child will have to eat about 240g of strawberries – that’s equivalent to a whole punnet!”
With a third of girls (34%) and boys (33%) aged 11-15 years considered overweight or obese, and tooth decay currently affecting 27.9% of 5 year olds, Action on Sugar is also urging parents to provide children with fresh fruit and vegetables as snacks, instead of the sugar-laden processed fruit snacks.
Industry has also reacted on the issue. Spokesperson from Organix told Asian Lite, “Our Organix No Junk Promise means we never add any refined sugars to our foods. Refined sugars are a carbohydrate so they provide energy but offer no other benefits while many foods such as milk, fruit and vegetables contain natural sugar alongside other essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fibre.
“The sugar content in our foods comes only from natural sources including organic fruit and vegetables which we use for flavour. We are confident that by using whole, pureed or in some cases concentrated organic fruits and vegetables in our foods we are giving the best alternative to cheap processed sugars. We want to reassure you that to minimise the total sugar in our foods we are careful with our portion sizes for children and when foods are higher in sugar due to their ingredients we limit the portion size accordingly.
“At Organix we want children to grow up eating a balanced and varied diet so they develop a healthy relationship with food. Sugar is just one of many things to consider when it comes to a good diet and healthy eating habits.”