The West Australian exclusive

Two-thirds of fruit snacks have unacceptable sugar levels, warn Cancer Council

Charlotte EltonThe West Australian
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Uncle Toby's Roll Ups contain 11.8 grams of added sugar per serve.
Camera IconUncle Toby's Roll Ups contain 11.8 grams of added sugar per serve. Credit: supplied/supplied

More than two-thirds of packaged fruit snacks are little better than a lolly bag, Cancer Council WA has warned.

In an audit of 56 popular fruit snacks, researchers found that 68 per cent contained “unacceptable” levels of sugar — more than 15 grams of sugar per 100 grams.

Shockingly, nearly half (43 per cent) were made up of at least 50 per cent sugar

Alex Dreyer — Project Officer for the Cancer Council’s healthy eating Crunch&Sip program — said many products deceive consumers by using healthy language.

“While parents and carers are doing their best to provide healthy options in their children’s lunch boxes, food manufacturers are letting them down,” he said, adding:

(They are) using sneaky marketing tactics, including imagery of fruit on their packaging, the use of words like ‘natural’ and ‘fruit’ within their brand and product name, and positioning their products in the health food aisles of supermarkets.

According to the World Health Organisation, people should not have more than five to 10 teaspoons — 20 to 40 grams — of added sugar per day. Children shouldn’t have more than six teaspoons.

The worst offender on the ignominious fruit snack list exceeded this portion in a single serve. Apricot Bellis Bars boast 26.7 grams of sugar per each 45 gram bar.

Competitor snacks weren’t far behind. Peppa Pig Yoghurt Covered Sultanas contain 22g of added sugar per 30 gram serve, while Go Natural Berry Frugos have 19.2 grams of sugar per 30 gram serve.

Perennial favourite Uncle Toby’s Roll Ups contain 11.8 grams of added sugar per serve.

With back-to-school just around the corner, Mr Dreyer warned parents that sugary snacks can get in the way of a child’s education.

“Sugary foods can cause sugar crashes. For kids, this usually occurs just after recess or lunch, affecting classroom learning,” he said.

“While dietary fibre found in whole fruit slows down digestion, helping to stabilise blood sugar levels and avoid the sugar crash, none of the packaged fruit snacks in our audit met the recommended minimum of three grams of dietary fibre per serving, which would help to do this.

“Instead, they weighed in at 1.5 grams per serving compared to whole fruit’s four grams per serving.“

THE WORST OFFENDERS: Products with added sugar as the first ingredient

  • Bellis Bars Apricot (sugar) 26.7g/ serve
  • Peppa Pig Yoghurt Covered Sultanas (sugar) 22g/serve
  • Go Natural Frugos Berry (sugar) – 19.2g/ serve
  • Sunbeam Yoghurt Covered Sultanas (sugar) 18g/serve
  • Coles Rainbow Sticks (sugar) 17g/serve
  • Iddy Biddy Fruit Flavoured Snacks (reconstituted fruit juices)12g/serve
  • Uncle Toby’s Roll Ups (concentrated fruit puree) 11.8g/serve
  • Go Natural Twisters Apple & Strawberry (concentrated apple puree) 11.5g/serve
  • Nice & Natural Fruit Shapes (reconstituted fruit juices) 10g/serve

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