Sugarwise aims to reduce amount of sugar in schools

The School Food Standards, that all British Schools must adhere to, currently place no limit on the amount of sugar children consume while at school. In response Sugarwise, the international authority for certification of sugar related claims, launches its scheme to certify schools with support from MPs, MEPs, nutritionists and Cambridge University Scientists.

With breakfast and after school clubs routinely providing pancakes, syrups, croissants, jam and hot chocolate, puddings daily after lunches, birthdays where treats are shared out, cake sales, tuck shops, competition prizes and celebrations like Christmas and Easter, some children may consume as much as up to 30x the recommended maximum across a whole school day, or up to 10x the daily recommended limit across a typical school day.

Rend Platings, Sugarwise founder said: “I was shocked to hear my daughter could live a shorter life than me. I could not believe that the School Food Standards which schools in the UK have to follow, and that limit things like breaded food to twice a week, places no limits at all on added sugar.

“The World Health Organisation and the government agree that free sugars should account for no more than 5% of daily calories. We are now, through the Sugarwise certification, highlighting the schools that adhere to these guidelines.”

Nourish Contract Catering is the first catering company to adopt the certification. They aim, through wholesome lunchtime meals, to guarantee the nutrients and vitamins a child needs, with a variety of carbohydrates, protein and fibre. While their menus have been fully compliant with School Food Standards, they felt that more could be done on sugar reduction.

Annette Ryan-Murphy, managing director of Nourish said: “Nourish Contract Catering are proud to be the first to be awarded the Sugarwise mark for our Primary School menus. This means our menus are the first to provide options low in “free sugars” – the sugars that need to be limited in the diet as they are contributors to childhood obesity and tooth decay.

“We have one Sugarwise day a week with no free sugars in any of our dishes. This helps to keep weekly average sugar intake down to public health guideline amounts. We hope that more schools and caterers follow suit in the interest of safeguarding the health of the children and communities they serve.”

The absence of guidelines on sugar in the School Food Standards have meant that children have routinely been consuming far too much over their school day, with consequences for obesity and other health problems.

Vinicius Ferreira, Sugarwise chief scientist, said: “An overwhelming majority of children far exceed their added sugar target on a daily basis. We have developed the Sugarwise certification for schools to help us regain control of the situation. If Sugarwise encourages schools and caterers directly to address added sugar content for children the benefits will be huge.”

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