Sugar limits for everyday foods such as biscuits, chocolate bars and cereals have been published by public health officials in a bid to make UK children more healthy.
Public Health England is challenging businesses to cut sugar by 20% by 2020, and by 5% this year.
It says the food industry should try lowering sugar levels, reducing product size or pushing healthier products.
Children are consuming three times more sugar every day than they should, which can lead to weight gain and obesity.Currently, one in five children are overweight or obese when they start primary school and by the time they start secondary school that rises to one in three.
This increases their risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers in adulthood.
Tackling the amount of sugar we eat is not just a healthy thing to do, but an issue of inequality for many families.
“If businesses achieve these guidelines, 200,000 tonnes of sugar could be removed from the UK market per year by 2020.”
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The guidelines apply to retailers and manufacturers as well as small cafes, coffee shops and fast food restaurants, which are thought to be responsible for an increasing level of calorie intake.
Food in nine different categories will have recommended sugar limits, including cakes, biscuits, chocolate and sweets, ice cream, puddings, yoghurts, breakfast goods and sweet spreads.
The sugar guidelines form part of the government’s plan to curb childhood obesity, set out in August 2016.
Officials in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also been involved in producing the guidelines.
A sugar tax on the UK soft drinks industry has already been announced and will come into force next April.
PHE’s sugar reduction programme is voluntary and it has no way of forcing the food industry to comply, but it said many companies had already taken steps to achieve the sugar targets.
It called the figures “challenging but achievable, particularly in higher sugar products”.