PHE warnings on sugar levels in pureed vegetables and savoury foods

PHEPublic Health England (PHE) has turned its attention to the free sugars found in pureed vegetables, such as soups.

Fruit juices, smoothies and fruit bars contain too many harmful ‘free sugars’, which PHE says is partly to blame for the obesity crisis.

Now it’s saying pureed savoury foods, such as vegetables, beans and pulses, are also sources of free sugars.

‘Classifying ostensibly “savoury foods” for their sugar content is possible but unnecessary – and will add to the public’s confusion as to what foods are part of a healthy diet,’ Catherine Collins, an NHS dietitian at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust, said to the Express.

‘As a dietitian, I have absolutely no concerns about a teaspoon of sugar present in a ready-prepared bolognese sauce, used to create a complex meal including pasta, vegetables and protein.

‘It isn’t helpful or nutritionally sound to attribute a concern to a pasta sauce that might be applicable, say, to boiled sweets.’

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Sugar consumption

Critics claim categorising pureed vegetables could lead to confusion over what is healthy and what isn’t.

Sugar consumption should make up no more than 5% of our calorie intake, PHE recommends.

Currently sugar makes up 13.5% of four to 10-year-old’s calorie intake, and 14.1% of the calorie intake for teenagers.

‘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 two diabetes,’ Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said.

‘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.’

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