On the back of today’s news that the average British child is consuming half of their recommended sugar allowance before they start school in the morning, Public Health England has launched a new free app called Be Food Smart. According to the health body, sugary cereals, spreads and fruit juices are among the main culprits contributing to more than one in five children now starting primary school overweight or obese, despite a majority of parents believing that their children are eating a healthy breakfast. With the aim of helping parents make healthier choices while food shopping, the app works by allowing users to scan the barcode of a product, highlighting the amount of sugar, saturated fat and salt found within food and drink which children are consuming on an everyday basis.
The traffic light system, previously adopted by Sainsbury’s, makes it easy for shoppers to immediately identify the levels of sugar, salt and saturated fat in food and drink products as low, medium or high, meaning that brands are more exposed and vulnerable to scrutiny than ever. This January, many will be seeking out what they believe to be ‘healthier’ alternatives such as shop bought salads, smoothies and soups, and Be Smart Food aims to expose the hidden sugars within these products as part of educating parents, and consumers in general, on how to make healthier lifestyle choices for themselves and their children.
Even as adults we are not always fully aware of what we are consuming, and so we decided to downloaded the app for ourselves to put some of our ‘healthy’ breakfasts and desk drawer snacks to the test…
Orange, mango and passion fruit smoothie (250ml)
7.3 cubes of sugar, 0.2g saturated fat, 0g salt
Granola cereal with strawberries (per 104g serving)
26 cubes of sugar, 23.5g saturated fat, 0.2g salt
Cereal bar (95g)
5.5 cubes of sugar, 1.4g saturated fat, 0.2g salt
Houmous (per 200g)
0.3 cubes of sugar, 5.2g saturated fat, 2.2g salt