what’s all the fuss about sugar?


Why is there such a big fuss about sugar? Surely the occasional sweet treat or fizzy drink isn’t a problem? Admittedly, in moderation and as part of a healthy diet, the right type of sugar is fine. The trouble is, most people in the UK (and Western world) tend to have way too much ‘free sugar’, and it’s particularly problematic for children. A report by Public Health England found that children are consuming twice the recommended daily amount and that sugary drinks are one of the main culprits.

Obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay are the most well known problems linked to too much free sugar, but there’s also a ton of evidence linking it to health issues including cognitive ability, immunity, gut health, energy levels, inflammation, depression and anxiety. The fact is humans aren’t designed to process the levels of sugar that we’re exposed to in almost all processed foods and drinks. 


To explain further, it’s helpful to understand the differences between the two types of sugar.

  1. Free Sugars

These are any sugars added to food and drink, the sort of thing you’ll find in biscuits, chocolate, jam, flavoured yoghurt, cereals and fizzy drinks. It also includes the sugar found in syrups (like maple, agave, golden), honey, unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies.

  1. Non Free Sugars

These are the naturally occurring sugars found in the cell structures of foods like whole fruits, vegetables, starchy carbohydrates and milk.

One of the most confusing aspects of sugar consumption is why fruit juices and smoothies are considered free sugars but whole fruit is not?

The answer lies in the fact that whole fruit contains fibre, which slows down the absorption of sugar into the blood stream – essentially the sugars are trapped in the cell walls of the fruit, and the body has to break the walls down to access it. Whereas with fruit juices and smoothies the sugar has already been released and is therefore considered free sugar.


For children aged 7-10 years, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommends no more than 24g of free sugar a day, the equivalent of 6 teaspoons or sugar cubes. It sounds OK until you put it into context...

One of the most effective ways to reduce sugar consumption is to cut out sugary drinks. Water is by far the best alternative – it’s sugar-free, fat-free and actually free! But it can get a bit boring. Which is why we created Jamu Wild Water. When our kids used to complain about water and wanted something a bit more interesting, we were at a loss as to what to give them.

The majority of flavoured drinks have sugar or artificial sweeteners in them – even flavoured water! So that’s where our Jamu journey began. And we’re really proud of what we’ve created. Not only is Jamu 100% natural, sugar-free and artificial sweetener-free, we’ve also used therapeutic botanicals to boost every single can with vitamin C and zinc to support immunity and fibre for a healthier gut. It tastes delicious too.

So if you’re looking for an easy way to reduce sugar consumption in your family, start with Jamu Wild Water! And here are some other ideas for healthy swaps.

High sugar breakfast cereal >> Plain or natural yogurt with a chopped fruit

Frozen fruits have the same, if not better nutritional value as fresh fruit without the wastage. They can be defrosted overnight in the fridge ready for the morning.

Sweets >> Frozen grapes

Remove grapes from the bunch, wash and dry them. (Cut them in half lengthways if you’ve got younger children.) Pop them in a container in the freezer. Eat straight from frozen for a refreshing sweet treat.

Biscuits >> Oat or rice cakes topped with peanut butter and sliced apple

The crunch and salty sweetness of a biscuit, with added protein and fibre.

Crisps >> Unsalted mixed nuts

Nuts are full of nutrients including fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals and do not contain free sugar.

Blueberry muffin  >> Toasted bagel topped with sliced banana and blueberries

A sweet fruity treat with two of your five a day and a fraction of the sugar!


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