PHA survey: still too much sugar, too little fibre in UK diets
Figures from Public Health England’s (PHE’s) latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) collected from 2014 to 2016 reveal that the average UK diet still consists of too much sugar and too little fruit, veg and fibre.
Figures from Public Health England’s (PHE’s) latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) collected from 2014 to 2016 reveal that sugar makes up 13.5 per cent of four to 10-year-olds, and 14.1 per cent of teenagers’ (11 to to 18-year-olds) daily calorie intake respectively; the official recommendation is to limit sugar to no more than 5 per cent. There is some good news on the sugar-reduction front, however: 10 year-olds are now consuming two thirds of the amount of sugary drinks that they did eight years ago – down from 130g per day in 2008 to 2010 to 83g in 2014 to 2016. For teenagers, sugary drink intake is more than double that of younger children (191g), even though consumption has decreased by 30 per cent. Sugary drinks remain the main source of sugar (22 per cent) in their diets.
The survey confirms the UK population continues to consume too much saturated fat and not enough fruit, vegetables, and fibre:
- average saturated fat intake for adults (19 to 64 year olds) is 12.5 per cent of daily calorie intake, above the 11% recommended maximum
- adults consume on average 4.2 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, 65- to 74-year-olds consume 4.3 portions and teenagers consume just 2.7 portions per day
- only 31 per cent of adults, 32 per cent of 65- to 74-year-olds and eight per cent of teenagers meet the Five A Day recommendation for fruit and vegetables
- average fibre intake in adults is 19g per day, well below the recommended 30g per day
Said Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE: “Poor diets are all too common in this country and, along with obesity, are now one of the leading causes of disease such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It’s clear from these data that the nation’s diet needs an overhaul.
A healthy balanced diet is the foundation to good health. Eating Five A Day and reducing our intake of calories, sugar, and saturated fat is what many of us need to do to reduce the risk of long term health problems.”
The data underscores PHE’s call for the UK population to follow a healthy balanced diet, based on the Eatwell Guide, which includes eating at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables per day, increasing consumption of oily fish and fibre and limiting the amount food high in saturated fat, sugar and salt.