Why cut down on sugar?
Sugar should make up less than 10% of the calories we get from food, but many of us eat far more than that, mainly from soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit and vegetable juices, cordial, confectionary and cakes and biscuits.
Here are 11 ways to help you cut down:
- Choose sparkling water instead of sugary soft drinks and juice.
- Try halving the amount of sugar you use in your recipes. It works for most things except jam, meringues and ice-cream.
- Choose wholegrain breakfast cereals, but not those coated with sugar or honey.
- Don’t drink your fruit! While fruit is high in nutrients, it’s also high in fructose – a naturally occurring form of sugar. If you juice your fruit, you’ll consume more serves than if you were eating it whole. You’re also getting rid of the fibre which makes you feel fuller for longer.
- If you have sugar in your tea or coffee, reduce the amount of sugar you use by half a teaspoon at a time until your cuppa is sugar free.
- Stay away from processed foods. A lot of the sugar we consume comes from processed foods we buy in a rush because we’re hungry.
- Swap high-sugar fruits (such as bananas) for berries which are low in sugar.
- If you need a snack, try swapping over to yoghurt, fresh fruit, or a small handful of unsalted nuts instead of grabbing a biscuit, cake, lolly, or chocolate.
- If you simply can’t give up your chocolate, go darker. Start with your usual choice of chocolate then every time you buy more go 10% darker. Try to get to 90% which contains much less sugar and has beneficial antioxidants.
- Make your own salad dressings – those found in the supermarkets are usually packed with sugar.
- Stick to the outside perimeter of the supermarket, where all the fresh food is found. If you avoid the processed food aisles you can’t buy any!
Here’s how much sugar you may be consuming, without even realising! These foods are also very low in nutritional value.
- 1 can (375ml) soft drink = 10 teaspoons of sugar
- 250ml glass cordial = 6 teaspoons sugar
- 75ml sports drink = 7 teaspoons sugar
- 50g rocky road = 6 teaspoons sugar
- 1 chocolate bar (50g) = 7 teaspoons sugar
- 3 jelly snakes or lollies = 3 teaspoons sugar
- 1 Danish pastry = 4 teaspoons sugar
- 2 Tim Tams = 3 teaspoons sugar