It’s no secret too much sugar is bad for us; it increases the risk of conditions like obesity, type 2
diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay. What’s more, sugar can lurk in many everyday foods – even ones that are marketed as healthy.
But the good news is, with a bit of know-how you can cut down your sugar intake. And, you don’t
have to sacrifice the taste of your favourite foods, either!
Follow these tips to reduce sugar in your diet:
Reduce your intake slowly
While too much sugar is bad for us, our bodies do need some sugar to give us energy. For this
reason, cutting out sugar suddenly will lead to energy dips and cravings. So it’s a good idea to reduce your sugar intake gradually.
Know the difference between 'natural sugar' and added 'sugar'.
You don’t have to avoid everything that’s sweet to be healthy! Naturally occurring sugar in whole
foods like fruit, veg and grain isn’t bad for you, because it comes with lots of other nutrients (like
vitamins and fibre) that stop it being absorbed too quickly. On the other hand, ‘Added sugar’ found
in processed foods is the kind that’s bad for us.
Check the label
Added sugar can hide in lots of foods – even ‘healthy’ foods like granola bars, and savoury foods like bread. So it’s a good idea to check the ingredients list for sugar levels. Keep in mind that added sugars can also be listed as syrup, fructose, glucose and honey. And if the packaging has a traffic-light code on the label, avoid foods with sugar in the red!
Cut back on sugary drinks
Fizzy drinks, energy drinks and juices can be loaded with added sugar. What’s more, because drink doesn’t fill you up in the way food does, we tend to consume more of it. Swap sugar-sweetened drinks for diet versions, and cut a teaspoon of sugar from your morning tea or coffee - it will make a big difference to your sugar intake in the long term.
Eat fruit instead
Swapping cereal bars and snacks for fresh fruit is an easy way to cut down on sugar – while satisfying a sweet tooth! Pair your fruit with protein and healthy fats such as natural yogurt and nuts, and you’ll feel full for longer.
Rethink your breakfast
Cereals are often packed with added sugar, even healthy versions like granola. Breakfast staples like toast and jam contain lots of sugar, too. And a sweet breakfast can also cause you to have sugar cravings for the rest of the day. Try switching to unsweetened porridge with berries, Greek yogurt with oats, or something savoury like eggs and avocado.
Spice it up
There are lots of sweet-tasting herbs and spices that serve as a healthy alternative to sugar. Try
adding cinnamon to your coffee, nutmeg or cardamom to porridge, or vanilla to yogurt. Ginger and mint are great flavour enhancers, too.
Eat home-cooked meals
Since added sugar is found in processed food, home cooking is a sure-fire way to reduce your sugar intake. Shop-bought soups, ready meals and sauces are often loaded with sugar, so consider
whipping up your own soups and sauces instead – they’ll taste great and they’re better for your
health all round!
I hope you found this post helpful. And if you enjoyed the post, do feel free to share it! Are you
inspired to do more home-cooking? Check out some delicious recipes here.