How 'healthy' fruit snacks for children can contain the equivalent of up to ...

Urban Fruits Gently Baked Strawberries contain 20g of sugar in a small 35g bag It's the same as five teaspoons - twice as many as an iced, sprinkled doughnut

Urban Fruits Gently Baked Strawberries contain 20g of sugar in a small 35g bag It's the same as five teaspoons - twice as many as an iced, sprinkled doughnut

'Healthy' fruit snacks for children can contain up to five teaspoons of sugar – the equivalent of two iced and sprinkled doughnuts.

Analysis by Action on Sugar has revealed that small products, designed to appear to be innocent on the surface, are actually crammed full of the sweet stuff.

Campaigners fear the products may be misleading parents into thinking they are buying their child guilt-free treats. Sugar can lead to weight gain and rot teeth. 

Action on Sugar analysed the contents of dozens of the UK's best-selling fruit snacks.

They found the worst offender was Urban Fruits' Gently Baked Strawberries, which contained 20g of sugar in a small 35g packet — the equivalent of five teaspoons.

Asda's Yogurt Coated Cranberries had 4.8 teaspoons of sugar – but a full packet is three times the size at 150g.

Tesco's fruit bars – apple and sultana, strawberry and banana, and mango and banana – are all at the top of the table for sugar content. Each contains at least 4.5 teaspoons. However, the website says the bars are no longer available.

Action on Sugar is calling for a ban on the use of misleading claims such as 'one of your five a day', 'naturally occurring sugars' or 'made from real fruit' slapped on the front of such snacks.

Processed dried fruit products are marketed as 'healthy snacks' because they contain fruit – which is full of nutrients and vitamins and a better choice over a chocolate bar, for example.

However, the sugars in these products are categorised by Public Health England as 'free sugars' – the bad kind. That's because they are highly concentrated or pureed.

Action on Sugar found 65 per cent of products had the equivalent of two teaspoons of sugars or more in just one single portion – the same as eating an iced doughnut bought from the bakery in Sainsbury's, Tesco, or Asda (pictured). But some had more

Action on Sugar found 65 per cent of products had the equivalent of two teaspoons of sugars or more in just one single portion – the same as eating an iced doughnut bought from the bakery in Sainsbury's, Tesco, or Asda (pictured). But some had more 

WHICH SNACKS WERE HIGHEST IN SUGAR? 

PER SERVING

Urban Fruit Gently Baked Strawberries 35g

20g per serving (5 tsps)/58g per 100g

Asda Yogurt Coated Cranberries 150g

19g per serving (4.8 tsps)/63g per 100g

Tesco 5 Apple & Sultana Bars 5 x 30g (and other similar bars which are now unavailabe on the site)

18.4g per serving (4.6 tsps)/61.2g per 100g

Fruit Bowl Juicy Yogurt Raisins 5 x 25g

16g per serving (4 tsps)/66g per 100g

Tesco 5 Strawberry Bites with a Yogurt Flavoured Coating 5 x 25g

15.5g per serving (3.9 tsps)/61.9g per 100g

Whitworths Sunny Dunked Yogurt Coated Raisins 5 x 25g

15.3g per serving (3.8 tsps)/61.2g per 100g

PER 100G

Kiddylicious Apple Fruit Wriggles 12g

70g per 100g/8.3g per serving (2.1 tsps)

Kiddylicious Strawberry Fruit Wriggles 4 x 12g

69g per 100g/8.3g per serving (2.1 tsps) 

Kiddylicious Banana, Mango & Passion Fruit Smoothie Melts 6g

69g per 100g/4.1g per serving (1 tsp) 

Kiddylicious Strawberry & Banana Smoothie Melts 6g

67g per 100g/4g per sercing (1 tsp) 

Fruit Bowl Juicy Yogurt Raisins 5 x 25g

66g per 100g/16g per serving (4 tsps) 

Organix Blackcurrant & Apple Stars 12g

65g per 100g/7.7g per serving (1.9 tsps)

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The sugars found in whole fruit, such as a banana or apple, don't have a negative effect on our health. Fruit is nutritious and full of fibre, which slows down the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the blood.

Fibre also expands the gut and makes you feel fuller, which makes you less inclined to eat more calories.

But when fruit is turned into fruit juice, the sugars come out of their cells and become 'free sugars'. Despite the name, they are not 'free' to consume in excess.

This type of sugar is what most adults and children in the UK eat too much of, and is found in cakes, biscuits and other confectionery products. They are also in honey and smoothies.

Free sugars are digested extremely quickly and spike blood glucose levels in the body. Regularly having elevated blood sugar can lead to diabetes and heart problems.

Free sugars also contribute to obesity and tooth decay.

When fruit is turned into juice the fibre is also lost so it is not as filling as a proper piece of fruit. It can lead to reaching for more calories.

Sugar in the fruit juice that makes up sweet 'healthy snacks' is therefore not regarded as any better than the sugar found in traditional sweets, although it may look better due to the way it is marketed.

Action on Sugar looked at 56 coated, flavoured, processed or extruded fruit-based products sold across leading grocery retailers.

It found 65 per cent of products had the equivalent of two teaspoons of sugars or more in just one single portion – the same as eating an iced doughnut bought from the bakery in Sainsbury's, Tesco, or Asda. 

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Some had more sugar than this, however. One Tesco Pink Ring Doughnut contains 8.5g sugar per doughnut, the campaign group claims.

Despite Urban Fruit's Gently Baked strawberries having 20g of sugar per 90g serving, it is marketed to appear as being healthy.

It boasts '101 calories per packet', 'one of your five a day' and 'high fibre' on the front, detracting from the high sugar content. 

When looking at sugars per 100g, rather than per serving, the

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