A new report highlights the shockingly high sugar levels in breakfast cereals. Leading health charity, the Oral Health Foundation calls for an urgent review to address the significant impact that added sugars have on tooth decay.
The new report is from Action on Sugar and shows that some breakfast cereals in the UK have dangerously high levels of sugar. In particular are some breakfast cereals marketed towards children. A typical serving (30g) of some contain a third of a 4–6-year-old’s maximum daily recommended intake. This intake should be no more than 5 teaspoons of sugar.
The Oral Health Foundation is supporting calls for food manufacturers to follow the success of their salt reduction programme by setting sugar targets for different categories of food and drink with immediate effect. The charity says the move will help to reduce sugar consumption, preventing tooth decay. It will also address increasing obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Sugar levels in breakfast cereals
Oral Health Foundation, Trustee Dr Ben Atkins, said: “This report is incredibly eye-opening”. “Far too many people are starting their day with a huge dose of sugar which is putting their health at major risk. Many will be unaware of the dangerous sugar levels in breakfast cereals. The manufacturers have a responsibility to alter their products to protect consumers from harm.”
Tooth decay is an enormous problem in the UK. In the last year, more than forty thousand children had to have teeth removed under general anaesthetic. This is heart-breaking and comes with huge emotional and physical distress caused to the children and their parents or carers. It also gave the NHS a £35.6m bill for performing the procedures.
Reformulation is key to change here. There has been huge progress made with the salt reduction programme in the UK. And we believe a significant reduction in sugar can be achieved in a similar way.
There needs to be a systematic, unobtrusive and gradual reformulation programme by manufacturers. This involves setting progressive targets for each food and drink category. This allows for an incremental reduction of sugar levels and greater protection for the public.
Tooth decay happens when the enamel and dentine of a tooth become softened by acid attack. This is usually after you have eaten or drunk anything containing sugars. As a result, the acid causes a cavity (hole) to form in the tooth. This often leads to the tooth needing to be filled or even taken out.
“Most of all, I urge everybody to try and be aware to how much sugar is in their breakfast. However look at other foods and drinks including fruit juices. These also impact on your oral health, Dr Atkins added.
Finally, There are many healthy alternatives to sugar filled breakfast cereals which are kind to your oral health. You can opt for eggs, toast, sugar free cereals, porridge or fresh fruit as an alternative.