Ok so first things first. Sugar is NOT the enemy. (Runs and ducks under cover). Seeing any single nutrient or food as the baddie However I completely agree that eating less sugar is something to be encouraged for MOST people. Notice I didn’t say ALL people. For some who are focusing on weight gain eating food that contain sugar can be useful and necessary.
The new WHO guidelines are that we shouldn’t be eating more than 10% of our total energy intake as free or added sugars. These are sugars that are added to foods as well as sugars naturally found in honey, fruit juices, fruit concentrates and syrups. So it does not include the sugar naturally found in foods such as fruit, vegetables, milk and some yoghurts for example.
Why do we need to reduce the sugar? The research shows a link between sugar and obesity. This makes total sense. Too many calories = weight gain. Sugar = calories. This is not saying that sugar is the main or only cuplrit in the obesity crisis, it is one of them. Sugar is also linked to dental caries. Again, it’s a widely known fact and yet we still eat it.
Personally I don’t jump on the band wagon of “sugar cleanses” or completely cutting out sugar. I wouldn’t find that sustainable. What I promote is reducing your sugar intake alongside finding a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable in the long term. If your meals taste horrible you won’t stick to it. Cooking from scratch, steering away from jars of sauce, snacking on fruit and veggies, switching to a sweetener, altering how you bake and drinking unsweetened beverages are all things I’m in favour of.
Cut down on:
Adding sugar to drinks and cereals/food.
Fruit juices and soft drinks.
Jars of sauce and condiments such as tomato sauce – look at the labels and see how much sugar is added!
Ready meals, soups and desserts.
Cereal bars, biscuits, cakes, sweets and processed foods.
Sugary breakfast cereals.
Check the labels of foods and look for a lower sugar option.
Switch to a sweetener. Many now come from natural sources and can be used in baking.
Wean yourself off sugary foods. If you have sugar in your drinks try gradually adding less over time. Go from 2 tsp, to 1 tsp to 1/2 tsp to 0 tsp for example.
Choose a wholegrain, low sugar cereal and add some fruit to bring in the sweetness.
Make your own versions of sauces, they are not only lower in sugar but usually cheaper too.
Try not to have sugary foods to hand or you are more likely to eat them!
Allow yourself to have sweet treats on occasion, it is impractical to cut things out entirely. Even dietitians eat cake and chocolate 😉