Friday 24 May 2019

How much sugar is in your Easter eggs? Obesity experts say children should be limited to one

Easter eggs on display. (Andrew Beer/PA)
Easter eggs on display. (Andrew Beer/PA)

Nick Bramhill and Rachel Farrell

OBESITY watchdogs have urged parents to limit their children’s chocolate intake over the holiday period to just one medium-sized Easter egg.

Irish kids will chomp their way through as many as five million chocolate treats over the long weekend.

Now, health experts say children can still enjoy the traditional fun of Easter without stuffing themselves with treats.

Simple steps to safeguard their kids’ health include avoiding the temptation to buy a large-sized egg, said Joana da Silva, spokesperson for Safefood Ireland, and asking other family members to buy non-edible Easter gifts.

“We certainly don’t want to take the fun out of Easter for children, and we recognise that Easter eggs are very much part of the tradition at this time of year,” she added.

“But at the same time we are concerned at the huge size of some of the eggs in the supermarkets, and also how much earlier Easter eggs are appearing on the shelves of shops every year.

Safefood Ireland did a survey of Easter eggs on the market to see how much sugar each egg contains. Photo: Safefood Ireland
Safefood Ireland did a survey of Easter eggs on the market to see how much sugar each egg contains. Photo: Safefood Ireland

“Easter eggs are designed to be extremely attractive to children, but what’s happening is that they are no longer seen as a novelty or a treat by kids, but more something that they expect at this time of year.

“And the problem is that many children expect not just one Easter egg, but lots of them.”

Children can expect to receive around eight eggs over the Easter period – which they will scoff over four days.

That equates to 8,000 calories and doesn’t take into account the existing calorie count in the kids’ daily diet.

But Ms da Silva said the excessive trends can be successfully addressed if parents take action.

She added: “Easter eggs are clearly very profitable, and it’s not realistic to expect supermarkets to take them off their shelves.

“But there are measures that parents can take. One recommendation is for parents to have a word with other family members, like aunts and uncles, or grandparents, and ask them to buy the children a non-treat present instead.

“One or two small Easter eggs should be the limit, or one medium-sized one.”

According to Safefood, maximum amount of sugar per day recommended for children aged 6 is 7 teaspoons.

A teaspoon of sugar is about 4g or one sugar cube.

For medium sized eggs, the Kit Kat Chunky Egg & Mug came out on top with 27 teaspoons of sugar per box.

While a Cadbury's XL Dairy Milk Giant Egg, which includes one egg and two sharing bars, contains a shocking 73 teaspoons of sugar.

In comparison, small treats like the popular Cadbury's Créme Egg contain 7 teaspoons of sugar.


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