Too often the products we think are made of one thing, are in fact mostly made of sugar.

A worrying reality as most of us don’t read the small print. We then end up consuming way too much of what we don’t want, and shouldn’t be eating.

As the UK continues to battle rising rates of obesity and diet related diseases, Action on Sugar’s new findings show just how out of control the problem is. And call on industry to take responsibility for kids’ health.

Take one of the UK’s favourite chocolate spreads: Nutella. Marketed as a “hazelnut spread,” in reality the product contains over four times more sugar (57%) than hazelnuts (13%).

Two slices of bread with a portion of Nutella chocolate spread contains 4 tsps of added sugars (17g), which is two thirds of the recommended 6 tsps of added sugar for 7-10 year olds. This is the same amount of sugar as 10 chocolate fingers and over a week equates to 30 tsps of added sugars, the same amount of sugar found in 5 mars bars.

Action on Sugar’s new findings are based on a survey of 272 sweet spreads (jams/fruit spreads, marmalades and chocolate spreads).

They found excessively high levels of sugar in all of these products – with more than two-thirds of the 38 chocolate spreads surveyed containing over 10g sugar per serving (20g). And the most well-known brands containing three of a child’s five maximum daily teaspoons of sugar – more than half their maximum intake.

Action on Sugar has called on the industry to start reducing levels of sugar immediately and for Government to get tougher if companies show no sign of working towards the 2020 sugar reduction targets, by issuing penalties.

“Companies that make these ‘sugar’ spreads and specifically market them misleadingly as something else to children, should consider their ethical and corporate responsibility. They should immediately stop this misleading marketing and ensure that they go well beyond the 20% sugar reduction that Public Health England is calling for, as there are already identical spreads that contain far less sugar,” says Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and Chairman of Action on Sugar.

As parents, teachers, friends and as a community, we need to know that these products are high in sugar. We need to see it on packaging. These product would be marked bright red if traffic light labelling were mandatory.

Industry and government should help make health possible for all kids by making reductions mandatory and traffic light labelling a front of pack necessity.

What do you think? Let us know @FoodRev

About Ali Morrow

Ali Morrow is the head of editorial and strategy for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation.