The Sugar Reduction Summit Conference

The Sugar Reduction Summit is taking place once again this year on Thursday 22nd September at The Royal Society in London. This year the event is titled:

The Sugar Reduction Summit; Industry, Regulation and Public Health

Last year there was a great deal of heated debate around sugar and one of the reasons why I really like this event is because it is very balanced. People from industry as well as those from Government, research and campaign groups are all asked to attend and to speak, which makes for very interesting debate panels!

This year speakers include Prof Ian MacDonald, Chair of SACN, University of Nottingham, Cathy Capelin, Kantar Worldpanel, Prof Susan Jebb, Oxford University and Prof Graham MacGregor, Action on Sugar, to name just a few.

The programme is live and available here, with more speakers being added in the coming weeks.

The event organisers have said that they are also delighted to confirm that Prof Ian MacDonald will be speaking at the Summit this year, to provide an update on sugars and the relevance of the SACN sugar report in light of the Childhood Obesity Strategy, two very current topics for debate.

How to eat less sugar: The Sugar Reduction Summit

The talks during the conference will also cover the sugar tax, the role of sweeteners and the work that needs to (and is already occurring) in industry around reformulation and regulation and lastly the impact of brexit!  

Other key topics at the Sugar Summit this year include:

  • Changes in consumer purchasing of sugar and latest data on the gap between targets and consumption
  • Can we ever achieve 5%  – is it realistic or unachievable?  And to what extent will current initiatives help get us there?
  • Is the proposed sugar levy compatible with international and EU trade laws?
  • What impact can we expect a sugar levy to have on purchasing behaviour – and how will the design of the tax impact this?
  • What does new research on consumer attitudes regarding palatability and efficacy of sweeteners tell us?
  • Are low-calorie sweeteners helpful in weight management? And if so, could they contain health claims?
  • Should and could the legislative framework of sweeteners be reviewed, to allow more products to use them to reduce sugar content?
  • Are the new Government targets to reduce sugar by 5% each year achievable – and how will categories and targets be set and managed?
  • How should a voluntary reformulation scheme be structured to be successful – lessons learnt from The Responsibility Deal and the USA’s HWCF voluntary programme

For anyone who is a Freelance Nutritionist or Dietitian or who is self-employed working in the field of nutrition and health, I have been given a 50% discount code for up to 10 freelancers, on a first come, first serve basis. Just simply copy this code First10onlyminus50pc into the coupon box and pay by credit card when registering.

Do send any thoughts or questions over if you have any and feel free to get in touch with me.

Nutrition, Health and Wellness Debunked…

Confusing nutrition messages are not new. Everyday we seem to read contradictory information in the press about the ‘super’ powers of certain foods, weight loss ‘magic’ products or supplements and about foods that will or wont cause you cancer. It’s no wonder that people are often confused. More importantly however, are there any truths behind any of these claims? More often than not it’s more complicated than the media will have you believe and when we are reading this information, we’re only getting a tiny part of the overall picture. Sometimes you really need to be a Nutrition Expert to work it all out…

That’s why The Rooted Project are setting up an event to speak with members of the public about some of these myths and to help debunk and demystify the world of nutrition.

To answer all your questions, The Rooted Project have brought together a panel of nutrition experts which includes Catherine Collins, NHS dietitian, Pro-science blogger Angry Chef, popular blogger and Dietitian Helen West and me! We will be taking part in a panel debate followed by a Q and A session, helping to answer some of your deepest, darkest mysteries about the world of nutrition.

For tickets, to find out about our competition entry or just for more information on the event head over to the Rooted Project Website or their Facebook Page.

You can also check out some of my previous blogs to help debunk some of the confusing nutrition messages, learn more about sugar in the diet or just generally learn about what eating a ‘Healthy Balanced Diet‘ really means.

Do also feel free to send me in any questions that you would like to be debunked surrounding the world of Nutrition. It’s always good to see what the public are reading and understanding about Nutrition, Health and Wellness Debunked!

Nutrition, Health and Wellness Debunked
The Rooted Project’s first event. Nutrition, Health and Wellness Debunked

Childhood Obesity Plan: Nutrition News…

The Nutrition News this week is dedicated to news around the Childhood Obesity Plan which was published by the Government on Thursday morning. There was a lot of hype and media interest around this so I’m sharing some of the most interesting articles.

In other Obesity related news

  • My blog this week discusses the crucial role Health Visitors play in advising parents about infant nutrition https://www.srnutrition.co.uk/2016/08/1302
  • After watching junk food advertisements children’s food choices were influenced to be solely based on foods taste properties http://bit.ly/2aVlfCz
  • Having a higher BMI for a longer duration as an adult was found to significantly increase your likelihood of having an obesity-related cancer http://bit.ly/2bx1uxa

And sugar was also back in the headlines this week:

  • New research has shown sugar is actively taken up by the brain (rather than passively), this discovery could improve diabetes treatment http://huff.to/2aXjOns
  • Medical News Today share some advice on foods that can help manage blood sugar levels in diabetes http://bit.ly/2aX7iEi
  • Study shows swapping sugary fizzy drinks and energy drinks with water can help reduce calorie intake by up to 17% http://bit.ly/2aUC7Dj

And just to leave on a more positive note…The Olympic hype continues into this week with some exercise news

  • Curious about what the diet of an Olympian looks like? Huffington Post reveal the diets of favourite athletes http://huff.to/2b3utca
  • Body positive yoga teacher shows that yoga is accessible for all and should help build self-esteem & strength http://bit.ly/2bxxp1d
  • ‘Anorexia athletica’ is on the rise and consists of sufferers participating in excessive exercise to maintain abnormally low body weight http://bit.ly/2bCAzUx
  • Need a push to start cycling? Look no further… Study finds car drivers weigh on average 4kg more than cyclists http://bit.ly/2bzThel

Thank you for reading! We hope you enjoyed this week’s Nutrition News which was all about the Government’s failed Childhood Obesity Plan!

Health Visitor Nutrition Training

On 23rd June 2016 I was asked to speak to a room full of Health Visitors about maternal, infant and child nutrition and child obesity. This was for the Journal of Health Visiting and I was so honoured to be asked to attend and run the Health Visitor Nutrition Training. A lot of my work involves training, supporting and advising Health Visitors and I think it’s such an important area and field of nutrition to cover.

The important role of Health Visitors

Health Visitors have so much information to impart and are responsible for advising parents about such a vast topic area – babies! Nutrition is part of the parcel for them, but we know that nutrition is also a huge part of the parcel for a child’s long term health too.

Early Years Nutrition impacts on not only an individual child’s health, growth, IQ and future job status, but it also affects families, communities and the UK as a whole. Research shows us that good nutrition in the first 1000 days of life can increase a countries GDP. This is why it’s so important that we help parents get nutrition right from the start.

The first 1000 days of life

This infographic from www.thousanddays.org is fantastic and shows just how much Nutrition matters.

First 1000 days of life

Charlotte’s Health Visitor Nutrition Training Messages:

So here is a quick summary and a few of the top tips from my Health Visitor nutrition training presentation to help us spread the word about the importance of child nutrition and help support parents to make the best choices for their children.

  • Childhood obesity is a big problem – recognising it and dealing with it in early years is far easier than dealing with it at a later date. The longer a child is overweight, the more established and extreme that excess weight is likely to become.
  • Obese children are 5-15x more likely to be obese as adults.
  • Eating behaviours are established in the early years and continue on into older aged children and adult hood – setting good examples and behaviours early on really does matter.
  • Children are born with a preference for sweet foods. We need to help them to learn to like other foods and flavours (such as bitter, sour, umami) during introducing solid foods. Focus on vegetables first and leave the unnaturally sweet foods until later (see my blog the real problem with our food!)
  • Be positive role models – let your children see you eating well and enjoying foods to help encourage your children to enjoy the same.
  • Don’t forget that vitamin drops are recommended for all children from 6 months until 5 years as a safe guard and to make sure they are getting their vitamin D!

See my blog for more information on topics such as fussy eating, Healthy lunchbox ideas for kidshelping kids to enjoy food and much more.

If you’re interested in hiring me to speak about Nutrition, check out more in my nutrition speaker section.

Charlotte’s Easy Peasy Pesto Recipe

I do love a pesto pasta dish! However, shop-bought pesto CAN be fairly expensive and, in my experience, it’s really hard to get a decent pesto sauce that tastes really good. That’s one of the reasons I was so excited when I realised that pesto is actually one of the quickest, cheapest and easiest sauces to make from scratch (I know, I probably should have realised it a long time ago, it’s fairly obvious!). Additionally, my homemade pesto recipe can actually last quite a long time in the fridge too, especially if you poor a really thin layer of olive oil on top before you put it in the fridge!

Pesto is all about experimenting with a few ingredients until, eventually, you get it just right. It’s really easy to make more of it too, in case you ever haven’t made enough to go round, as there are so few ingredients and it’s also a great idea for using up leftover greens that are about to go off!

So here is my very ‘Jamie Oliver style’ (bish bash bosh…) recipe for an Easy Peasy Pesto.

Ingredients for my pesto recipe:

Two very large handfuls of left over greens such as basil, spinach or kale (or a mix of them all!)

A handful of nuts such as pine nuts, almonds or (my favourite) cashew nuts

A clove of garlic (2 if you like your pesto garlicky)

A good few glugs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pepper to taste

Some extras you could include:

Lemon juice – just a few squeezes to give it a little lemon zing.

Or you could add a few gratings of parmesan or cheddar cheese.

Method:

  • Put all ingredients into a blender and blend – voila!

You may need to add a little more or less olive oil depending on whether you want your pesto runny of thick.

You can pop it in a jam-jar and keep it in the fridge or add it straight to pasta or salad.

This recipe should make roughly enough for 3 or 4 servings. For more, use a whole bag of greens and increase the other ingredients accordingly!

For more of our recipes visit the “healthy recipe” section of my blog.

At SR Nutrition we’re on the look-out for bloggers to help with some of our recipe blogs. If you are interested in supporting us, or know someone who is (who also happens to be fab at cooking and know their nutrition stuff), please do get in touch!

Beating Bowel Cancer Campaign…

Beating Bowel Cancer is a charity involved in….trying to beat bowel cancer. They have recently started a ‘veg pledge’ Beating Bowel Cancer Campaign where they are getting people to have a go at giving up meat for and focusing more on fitting in more vegetables into the diet for just 7 days!
They have asked me to help support the campaign and I think it’s a great ideas for a number of reasons.

Firstly, getting people to think about other foods in the diet and the idea that you don’t HAVE to base all your meals around meat is a positive aspect of the campaign. It might actually get people cooking more too, and hopefully experimenting with a variety of vegetables. We know that plant-based eating is something that the UK Government is promoting themselves too so it’s a win-win campaign in my opinion.

The VegPledge Beating Bowel Cancer Campaign is also focusing very much on the money that you might save and they have a calculator that helps to predict what this might be. On top of this, they offer plenty of recipe ideas which include meat alternatives too.

Below is more information about the VegPledge Beating Bowel Cancer Campaign, so I hope you sign up and give your meat free 7 days a go!

Beating Bowel Cancer VegPledge

Join the VegPledge, support Beating Bowel Cancer

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK, and someone is diagnosed every 15 minutes. Whilst age and family history of the disease could mean you are at a greater risk of developing bowel cancer, there are some positive lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your risk. One of these is cutting down on your intake of red and processed meats, as there is evidence to suggest eating more than 90g of these foods per day could lead to bowel cancer.

Throughout the month of August, Beating Bowel Cancer will be challenging us all to take the VegPledge

Beating Bowel Cancer VegPledge

Signing up for the VegPledge is the start of a 7-day personal challenge to give up meat and fish. Not only is it good for you to limit your meaty intake once in a while, but the Beating Bowel Cancer VegPledge Calculator will also enable us to see how much we will save by just focusing on the green stuff; I’ve had a look, and was quite surprised!

The calculator is simple; visit beatingbowelcancer.org/vegpledge, enter in the portions of meat and fish your household would ordinarily consume in a week, and estimate your savings. With just one click, you can then choose to be directed to PayPal in order to donate your savings (or an alternative sum), straight to Beating Bowel Cancer.

Beating Bowel Cancer can only continue to provide through voluntary donations. Every little bit counts, and the calculator helpfully provides snippets of information about what our donations could enable the charity to achieve.

The webpage also houses a range of delicious vegetarian recipes to help us swap those meaty meals for something a little more veggie-friendly; there’s everything from a spicy lentil curry, to a spinach soup courtesy of Michelin Star chef Adam Gray!

Visit beatingbowelcancer.org/vegpledge and take the challenge!

For more information on Beating Bowel Cancer and the great work they do, visit beatingbowelcancer.org.

New Vitamin D Recommendations

Big news this week for the Nutrition world! The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) released new vitamin D recommendations in their long awaited Vitamin D Report! Importantly the report doesn’t set the guidelines, it is just used to advise the Government on what recommendations they should make.

However, to cut through the confusion here is a summary of what the new vitamin D recommendations say.

In a change to previous advice, SACN is now recommending new vitamin D recommendations as follows:

  • a new reference nutrient intake (RNI) of 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day, for everyone in the general population aged 4 years and older
  • an RNI of 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day for pregnant and breastfeeding women and population groups at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency
  • an updated ‘safe intake’ of 8.5 to 10 micrograms per day for infants from birth to 1 year
  • an updated ‘safe intake’ of 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day for children aged 1 to 4

What do the new Vitamin D recommendations mean for the public?

The recommendations on how much vitamin D we should be getting each day have altered due to us having more data and more studies looking into requirements and intakes in the UK. This has allowed SACN to make more specific recommendations for different groups and members of the public.

A lot of previous research has shown that many people, especially in the winter months, are low in vitamin D.

Why do we need vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a hormone that is needed in the body to control the amount of calcium and phosphate in our body. Vitamin D, as well as calcium, is needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Without enough of it we may see children developing a bone disease called rickets and osteomalacia developing in adulthood.

Where does vitamin D come from?

Vitamin D mainly comes from sunlight, specifically in the months from April to September. There is also vitamin D in oily fish, red meat, egg yolk, wild mushrooms, breakfast cereals as well as in milks and spreads which are fortified with vitamin D.

However, the amount you get from food is fairly low. See below an image from Dietitian Catherine Collins which shows the foods you need to eat to meet 10 micrograms a day.

New Vitamin D recommendations
Thanks to Dietitian Catherine Collins for letting me use her image!

What are the new recommendations for vitamin D intakes?

The SACN report suggests a new reference nutrient intake (RNI) of 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day, for everyone in the general population aged 4 years and older. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women and those at risk of deficiency (those who don’t get much exposure to the sun, always use sun cream when outside or those who tend to wear lots of clothes to cover up).

However, especially during the winter, when there isn’t much sunlight, it can be hard for everyone to reach their RNI of 10 micrograms of vitamin D/day.

Action point 1: Therefore SACN have recommended that during autumn and winter everyone from the age of 4 and up should be taking a supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day.

Action point 2: For those in ‘at risk’ groups, who have little exposure to the sun (and anyone else who chooses too), it’s recommended that they should consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D everyday throughout the year.  

Vitamin D recommendations for children

You can see the old recommendations here for vitamin D for children, if you’re interested.

The new Vitamin D recommendations suggest a ‘safe intake’ of 8.5-10 micrograms for infants from 0 to 1 year of age.

As infants and toddlers get minimal exposure to the sun, and are unlikely to get enough vitamin D from foods it is therefore essential that:

Action point 3: Infants from 0-1 year of age, who are breastfeeding of mixed feeding, receive vitamin drops or a form of vitamin D supplement every day throughout the year.

Children who are fully formula fed do not need a vitamin D supplement until they are having less than around 500 mls of formula a day.

Action point 4: Children between the ages of 1 and 4 years are now recommended a ‘safe intake’ of 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day and therefore should also be given a daily supplement of 10 micrograms of Vitamin D everyday throughout the year.

Luckily mums can also get Vitamin D for their little ones from a product I worked on called ‘Arla Big Milk’ which is a fresh cow’s milk specifically enriched with Vitamin D to help children in meeting their recommended intakes!

For children between 4 and 11 years of age, the same recommendations stand as those for the rest of the public – 10 micrograms are recommended each day during the winter months but you can choose to take them throughout the year if you wish to, or if they are in an ‘at risk’ group.

I hope this article makes the guidelines clearer for some people. Please email me any questions you have and see some links below for more information.

Key:

µg = microgram (mcg)

UI = international unit (not used so much in the UK).

However, 10mcg is equal to 400IU.

And some further reading:

An old article from me on Vitamin D recommendations

BBC headlines on new Vitamin D Recommendations

The Full SACN report on Vitamin D

NHS choices interpretation of the new Vitamin D recommendations

Supplements to take pre pregnancy

When you first decide to start trying for a baby, it’s a good idea to start also thinking about your diet and your lifestyle as a whole – including what supplements to take pre pregnancy. Diet and nutrition can play a role in fertility but there are also some supplements you might need to start thinking about before you become pregnant.

Take a folic acid supplement when you begin trying for a baby

Current advice recommends that as soon as you start trying for a baby, it’s important to also start taking 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid and including folate rich foods into your diet. Folate rich foods include foods such as dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, fortified breakfast cereals, beans and legumes and bread.

This recommendation is in place due to the fact that early on in pregnancy a baby’s brain and spinal cord are formed and folic acid can help to ensure a baby’s spinal cord develops properly, and therefore reduce the risk of developing a condition such as spina bifida, in those early days.

A healthy pre-conception diet

You can help to make sure you’re topping up on other essential vitamins and minerals too by eating a balanced, healthy and varied diet and by ensuring you are including foods from all of the four main food groups: wholegrain starchy foods, fruits and vegetables, protein rich foods and dairy foods. It’s also important to try and eat 2 portions of fish each week, one of which should be oily fish, as well as focusing on plant-based sources of protein such as nuts, beans, lentils and pulses.

Other supplements to take when trying for a baby

A healthy balanced diet
The New Eatwell Guide from the Department of Health

However, on top of the recommendation for folic acid, there are other nutrients such as vitamin D and iodine that many of us in the UK don’t get enough of in a typical diet. Even if you’re eating an ‘ideal’ diet, it can still be difficult to get enough in the way of iodine and vitamin D from food alone. Therefore as a safe guard, it may be useful to take a pre-conception supplement which contains folic acid, vitamin D, iodine and a number of other useful vitamins and minerals. A pregnancy supplement or a pre-pregnancy supplement is fine as they will likely contain the right nutrients in the right amounts.

Make sure you’re not taking any other supplements at the same time and if you are, or if you are taking any medications, it’s best to seek advice from your GP before starting a pre-conception supplement. It’s also important to avoid any supplements containing vitamin A.

For more information see my vlog on foods to eat when trying for a baby or my article on Fertility Foods in Harper’s Bazaar.

5 Nutrition Tips for Healthy Teeth

Us Brits have actually got a bit of a bad rap for the health of our teeth. In the real world we can’t all have a Blake Lively Hollywood Smile, however, watching what we put into our mouths can go a long way to helping us look after our teeth health and maintaining a pearly white smile at the same time. Read on for my nutrition tips for healthy teeth…

Looking after your teeth with diet

Although we have incredible dentistry services today – which can literally work miracles even on the wonkiest of teeth – it’s not always accessible to all and, on top of that, as is always the case in nutrition, prevention is always better than a cure!

So whether you’re wanting to smile like Julia Roberts, to be a good tooth-y role model to your children or to minimise dental decline in old age, diet and nutrition can play a role in dental health.

As advice goes brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and regularly visiting your dentist still absolutely stands. And if you’re not doing this then nutrition tips for healthy teeth isn’t going to do much to improve that…

However, I spoke with Natasha Smith, qualified Oral Health Educator about how diet can really impact our teeth and so here are our combined 5 Nutrition Tips for Healthy Teeth:

5 Nutrition Tips for healthy teeth
Blake Lively boasting the quintessential Hollywood Smile

1. Limit your sugar intake

When we eat sugar, bacteria in our mouths eat that sugar and this results in the production of acids. It is these acids that dissolve tooth enamel and can have a negative impact on our tooth health.

One important factor is the frequency in which we consume sugar. If free sugars are consumed rarely, then the teeth will be able to (alongside proper dental care) repair themselves. However, if you consume sugar frequently the teeth have less time to repair in-between acid attacks and you’re more likely to suffer from tooth decay and dental erosion.

So, if you can’t give that sweet tooth a kick, try and make sure you’re not eating sugary food and drinks too frequently and, even better, try to consume sugar alongside meals so that the sugar and the acid has less time to attack the teeth.

Natasha says:

“The frequency of sugar intake is more important than the amount. Eat and drink sweet things with meals rather than in-between as snacks. Snacks should be less cariogenic like vegetables, breadsticks and yogurt.”

See SR Nutrition’s blog for more information on sugar and health and for information on sugar intake in young children too.

2. Wait around 30 minutes to brush your teeth after food and drink

Additionally, if you’re thinking that brushing your teeth straight after you’ve gobbled some sweeties will help protect your teeth – think again! After consuming food (especially acidic or sugary foods) your mouth will be more acidic and therefore tooth erosion will start to occur. Research suggests that brushing our teeth whilst the mouth is still acidic actually damages the hard tissue on our teeth further than if we wait until the acid in the mouth has started to neutralise before brushing.

This has led to advice to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth.

Natasha Smith goes one step further “don’t have anything to eat or drink one hour before bedtime to prevent the wearing of enamel when brushing.

3. Make water your drink of choice!

Avoiding sugary and acidic drinks like soft, fizzy drinks makes total sense if you’re wanting to maintain a beautiful smile. It’s also a good idea to limit the amount of tea, coffee, herbal teas and red wine that you consume too. Often these drinks can be acidic and they contain tannins and chromogens too, which can change the colour of your teeth over time via staining.

Natasha adds “fruit juices, smoothies, wine and fruit teas are acidic and can soften the enamel on our teeth”.

Therefore if you’re looking for pearly whites, it’s a good idea to reduce your consumption of these drinks and try to stick to water more often. Remember to keep yourself hydrated though, as good hydration is important for skin health and to keep your bodily functions working properly. Remember to drink around 6-8 glasses of fluid each day, just ensure than the majority of these are coming from water!

Additionally Natasha adds that “milk, yoghurt, and even cheese can potentially counteract some of the acidic levels of drinks noted above”, so it’s not necessary to give up on your favourite tipple completely!

4. Limit fruit juices and dried fruits

Although dried fruits are really healthy and contain fibre and plenty of vitamins and minerals, because they are sticky, they may be more likely to hang around the teeth for longer and therefore provide a good source of sugar for the bacteria in the mouth to attack.

“Anything sticky can remain in the pits of the teeth for longer, causing decay” reiterates Natasha.

You don’t need to avoid dried fruit completely, but it’s a good idea to consume dried fruits alongside other foods, for example with nuts and vegetables, with crackers and cheese or in yogurt or with cereal. Fruit juice is also a concentrated source of sugar and acid, so it’s a good idea to consume this with a meal such as breakfast and try and stick to no more than 150 mls of juice a day.

5. Wash your mouth out!

Inevitably, none of us are perfect, and we’re going to reach for that cup of tea, that pack of biscuits or even a fizzy drink (gasp ;-)) from day to day. If it’s not possible to have your sugary vice alongside a meal, one thing that might help is attempting to rinse your mouth out with water straight after consumption. Alternatively, getting into a healthy habit of having a glass of water with your tea, wine or cake is a good idea to help protect your teeth and to help maintain that Hollywood smile for as long as possible.

For more reading around the topic of healthy teeth see:

Action on Sugar’s Sugar and Tooth decay Article & https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050616060426.htm

Thanks to Natasha Smith for her expertise and great quotes for use in this blog post!

Caffeine Recommendations for Pregnant Women

I’ve recently had quite a few friends ask me about how many teas and coffees they can consume during pregnancy and what are the current caffeine recommendations for pregnant women. There seems to be some confusion about how much caffeine is in a typical tea for example, and how much caffeine, if any, should be consumed…

Caffeine recommendations for pregnant women

Pregnant women are recommended by the UK Government to keep their intake of caffeine to less than 200 mg a day. The reason for this is that high levels of caffeine may increase the risk of having a miscarriage and also may lead to a low birth weight baby.

What foods contain caffeine?

Other than chocolate, which contains a small amount of caffeine, most of our caffeine comes from drinks including tea, coffee and soft drinks such as cola.

the current caffeine recommendations for pregnant women mean that this population group needs to keep an eye on their intakes and potentially restrict how many caffeinated foods and drinks they consume each day.

How much caffeine is in my tea?

To put the 200 mg of caffeine into context the NHS provide a guide to the levels of caffeine in commonly consumed tea and coffees in the UK.

1 mug of black tea = 75 mg caffeine

1 mug of green tea = 35-55 mg caffeine

1 mug of instant coffee = 100 mg caffeine

1 mug of filter coffee = 140 mg caffeine

However, the below infographic from the infant and toddler forum shows a fantastic visual demonstration of caffeine levels in our favourite drinks and for specific cup sizes too.

You can see from the above infographic that having just one mug of tea plus one mug of coffee can put you close to, or even over, your maximum recommended caffeine intake for the day.

On top of this, the amount of caffeine found in drinks such as a latte or a cappuccino at local coffee shops and high street food chains varies hugely. One study in Glasgow found that the caffeine content of coffee shop coffees varied from 51 mg to 322 mg in a single shot of coffee! This suggests it’s a good idea to avoid or limit coffees bought out of the home, unless you can be sure as to how much caffeine they contain.

Hydration during pregnancy is important…

It’s important to keep in mind that although caffeine recommendations during pregnancy are restricted, pregnant women may still need around 300 mls of extra fluid per day to ensure they stay fully hydrated. That’s around 1-2 glasses more than a non-pregnant female; taking the fluid recommendations for pregnant women to around 7-9 glasses a day.

For this reason, simply cutting back on tea or coffee might not be such a good idea, as it may leave women dehydrated at a time when hydration is essential. This means many women need to seek alternative fluid options to keep hydrated without having too much caffeine.

Luckily there are plenty of alternatives to standard black tea, green tea and coffee to help ensure you don’t exceed caffeine recommendations for pregnant women! I’ve included a list of options below. Remember, as with everything in nutrition, it’s all about moderation with anything you’re eating or drinking. I’ll also be writing a blog in a few weeks time about herbal tea during pregnancy.

Low or no caffeine drinks for pregnant women:

  • Water
  • Decaf tea
  • Decaf coffee
  • Herbal teas
  • Red bush tea
  • Fresh ginger tea
  • Hot water with lemon and ginger
  • Hot water with a slice of lemon
  • Fizzy water with lemon or lime
  • Mint tea
  • Infused fruit waters (recipe ideas)
  • Half fresh juice half water
  • Coconut water

And a few to have more as a treat… (try to stick to no more than one glass because of higher, readily available sugar in these)

  • Fresh juice
  • Elderflower cordial
  • Ginger Beer
  • Homemade smoothies

For more information on what to eat during pregnancy see my blog post on Nutrition Recommendations for Pregnant Women. There is also a really useful Caffeine Calculator on Tommy’s website. And lastly, keep an eye out for my Herbal Tea during pregnancy blog post coming in the next few weeks.

Lastly, you can now view my youtube video on Caffeine intakes during pregnancy:

Caffeine Recommendations for pregnant women
Decaf Iced Tea in the garden…
Caffeine Recommendations for pregnant women
Caffeine content of different sizes of teas and coffees
Healthy drinks for pregnant women
Fruit infused water is a delicious way to jazz up tap water!

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