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Natural Baby Ice-pops!

Picture of Orla Walsh, RD
Orla Walsh, RD
Orla Walsh is a Registered Dietitian and Physiologist. Orla is the founder of Orla Walsh Nutrition, she is the former performance nutritionist to the Irish Olympic team and is regular contributor for the Irish Independent newspaper, RTE and Newstalk FM.
Baby-ice-pops

You’d be hard pushed to call this a recipe. However… they’re a lovely option on a hot summers day. Simply pop your grapes in the freezer, and eat them frozen!

It’s that simple. It might help prevent food waste too! It is estimated that food waste generates about 8% to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland.  

How much’free sugar’ are we eating?

Sugar is often touted as being ‘toxic’. Although excess sugar damages our body, this does not mean that sugar itself is toxic. It simply means that eating it in excess, as with many other things, isn’t good for us. Nevertheless, as most Irish people are eating sugar in excess, it is harming the health of the Irish people. By the standards set out by the World Health Organisation we’re eating 3 times too much. To put it into real terms the average person eats over 130 teaspoons of sugar each week, or nearly 20 teaspoons of the white stuff each day.

Why should we reduce our free sugar intake?

It’s important that we all reduce our intake of ‘free sugars’ as they increase the risk of ill-health. For example, eating too much free sugar has been linked with higher total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.  A study conducted over 15 years showed that people who have daily diets that were high in sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those whose diets were lower in free sugar.

What is free sugar?

The sugar naturally found in fruit, milk and yoghurt is different to free sugar as they’re protected within the matrix of the food. They’re confined within the cells of the fruit, cordoned off by fibre or else delivered to the body with protein. This makes a difference to how our body reacts when we eat it. For this reason, as well as plenty of others, we do not need to focus on reducing it.

The natural sugar found in fruit is within the fruit’s cells. When the fruit is juiced, the sugar is released from the fruit’s cells and is then considered ‘free sugar’.

Free sugar includes the sugar in confectionary, cakes, biscuits, table sugar, honey, jam, marmalade, fruit juice and vegetable juice. For example, 2 to 3 gulps of fruit juice contains the same amount of free sugar as eating 1 tsp of sugar off a spoon.

Nutritional Advice

The standard icepop may contain 20g of free sugar (5 tsp of sugar). They may make it with fruit juice but that is still free sugar! The general aim is to eat less than 12 tsp (50g) of free sugar a day. Each 4 grams of sugar is equivalent to 1 tsp of sugar.

By choosing these frozen grapes some of the time, you might bring your free sugar intake from 20 tsp to 15 tsp that day.

Careful feeding them to kids under 5y as they are a choking risk!

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