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Drop 80% sugar with your next ice lolly… when it finally heats up

It can be hard to balance the demands of eating well without spending a lot.

In this series, we try to find the healthiest options in the supermarket for the best value – and have enlisted the help of Sunna Van Kampen, founder of Tonic Health, who went viral on social media for reviewing food in the search of healthier choices.

In this series we don’t try to find the outright healthiest option, but help you get better nutritional value for as little money as possible.

Today we’re looking at ice lollies – so you’ll be ready for the sunnier days ahead (fingers crossed). 

“While the temptation to grab a lolly is strong, there’s a healthier and equally satisfying option you might be overlooking,” Sunna says.

Let’s start with the top brands, and have a look at how much sugar is in each one:

Del Monte 100% Juice 75ml – 15g of sugar or almost (four teaspoons)

Calippo Orange Mini 80ml – 14g of sugar (3.5 teaspoons)

Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles 65ml – 11.5g of sugar (almost three teaspoons)

Fab 58ml – 10g of sugar (2.5 teaspoons)

Twister Mini 50ml – 8.6g of sugar (just over two teaspoons)

Mini Milk 35ml – 4.1g of sugar (one teaspoon)

Little Jude’s 35ml – 2.7g of sugar (under half a teaspoon) 

A note on free sugar

Free sugar is what we call any sugar added to a food or drink.

“You may be surprised to see a 100% juice lolly at the top of the above list, but fruit juice is still classed as a free sugar and acts in the body the same way as an added sugar,” Sunna says.

What to consider

Size comes into the different amount of sugar per lolly, but even if you had two Mini Milks or Little Jude’s you’d still be eating less sugar than if you have one of the others. 

But there’s another important point here: “Portion control matters, and we often find that if it’s in front of us, we’ll have no problem eating the whole thing, but you’d be surprised how little you need to hit that sweet tooth craving,” Sunna says. 

Making the switch from sugary lollies like Calippo or even Del Monte 100% Juice to Mini Milk or Little Jude’s might seem small, but it’s a big step to healthier habits. 

“It’s a win-win situation: you get to enjoy a refreshing treat while slashing your sugar intake,” Sunna says. 

For context, if you traded Del Monte for Little Jude’s, you’d drop your sugar content by 82%. 

“An 80% drop in your sugar per lolly is huge and to put that into perspective you can cut out over three teaspoons of sugar for each one you have. 

“Assuming you have one lolly a day across – hopefully – 30 days of sunny weather this summer and you’ll find yourself saving over 90 teaspoons of sugar from your diet.”

How much sugar can we eat?

The NHS daily recommendation for sugar intake is 30g a day for adults, 24g a day for seven to 10-year-olds and 19g a day for four to six-year-olds. 

“If these lollies are for your child, consider that one Calippo will provide 73% of your four to six-year-old’s daily sugar intake (or 58% if your child is above seven).”

With only one lolly, you’re consuming a significant chunk of your daily sugar allowance, so it’s worth considering your choices and choosing a healthier option.

The nutritionist’s view – from Nichola Ludlam-Raine, dietitian at nicsnutrition.com…

“While it’s true that too many ice lollies is not great for physical health, enjoying the odd one from time to time is ok. 

“The sugar in fruit juice does indeed fall under the daily limit for ‘free-sugar’, but fruit juice also provides key nutrients including vitamin C – an essential antioxidant for immune health. 

“The advice, though, is to prioritise whole fruits where possible and to have no more than 150ml of fruit juice a day (less for children). 

“This is why I like to freeze left-over fruit smoothies (fruit and milk blended), which contain more fibre (and other nutrients), than simply fruit juice alone.

“Looking at nutrition labels can be a great education, and it may help some people to choose healthier options. 

“However, the ingredients list for me is key when choosier more nutritious varieties – milk-based lollies such as Mini Milk and Little Jude provide protein as well as calcium and iodine, but may not be suitable for children with cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) or lactose intolerance. 

“In this situation a homemade smoothie lolly (using oat milk and fruit), or fruit-based lolly would be better – for example the 100% juice lollies or smaller fruit lollies from Pip Organic.”

Read more from this series… 


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