Sugar is a contributing factor to the obesity crisis. It is everywhere and can be very hard to distinguish what foods it is in. Simply because sugar has various names and can be tricky to spot on food labels. It is essential to become more sugar savvy to ensure we aren’t consuming too much of the bad stuff and where we need to become better at eating more of the good stuff.
It comes as no surprise that the government has recently been urged to impose a “calorie tax” on unhealthy foods. This would include on items such as cakes, biscuits, chocolate, ice creams, and other processed foods.
The request for a “calorie tax” on certain foods, follows the successful introduction of the Soft Drinks Levy in April 2018. It has raised £153.8 million since it came into place last year. Furthermore, a shocking 90 million kilos of sugar is said to have been taken out of the nation’s diet since then. Therefore, health campaigners want to take it a step further and have a levy to be put on processed foods.
1. Cut down on chocolate snacking
It can be tempting to reach for a chocolate bar when you are hungry or have a sweet craving. However, it’s important not to make it a habit. Chocolate is full of lots of calories and can increase your risk of gaining weight. It is a very calorific snack and eating just one chocolate bar can take its toll on your caloric intake. Being sugar savvy doesn’t mean you have to give up chocolate completely. If chocolate is a vice you can’t give up then try to select chocolate with a higher cocoa content such as dark chocolate as it is better for you. Although, it is worth noting Cadbury is trying to tackle the number of calories in their chocolate. They have announced their plans to reduce the number of calories in their chocolate bars to under 100 in order to tackle the obesity crisis in the UK and Ireland.
Read here: What happens to your body when you eat too much sugar?
2. Don’t assume condiments and sauces are good for you
There are quite a few different savoury foods you wouldn’t expect to be full of sugar or high in calories… Thus, why it is important to become more sugar savvy! For example, different salad dressings contain high amounts of sugar. You would expect the dressing you put on your greens to be somewhat healthy, however, they are anything but.
- A Heinz Salad Cream 425g squeezy bottle contains 72.25g of sugar and 1,245.25 kcal (Value per 100g: 293 kcal ad 17g of sugar).
- A Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise 600g jar contains 7.8g of sugar and 4,326 kcal (Value per 100g: 721 kcal and 1.3g of sugar).
- A Pizza Express House Salad Dressing 235ml contains 7.05g of sugar and 975.25 kcal (Value per 100g: 415 kcal and 3g of sugar).
- A Hellmann’s Caesar with Smoked Garlic Salad Dressing 210ml bottle contains 6.09g of sugar and 485.1 kcal (Value per 100g: 231 kcal and 2.9g of sugar).
- A Sainsbury’s Chilli Lime & Coriander Dressing 250ml bottle contains 56.5g of sugar and 330 kcal (Value per 100g: 132 kcal and 22.6g of sugar).
It’s not just salad dressings though that are packed full of sugar. Many pasta sauces can have as much sugar as a chocolate bar. Therefore, be careful when selecting your condiments and sauces in the supermarket.
3. Stick to one smoothie a day
Some people may assume that because smoothies have fruit in them, they must be healthy right?! However, this isn’t the case. This is why it is important to become more sugar savvy. Smoothies are high in sugar as when the fruit is blended, natural sugars are released from the fruit and become free sugars. The British Heart Foundation explains free sugar is “any sugar added to a food or drink. Or the sugar that is already in honey, syrup and fruit juice. These are free because they’re not inside the cells of the food we eat.” When fruit is turned into fruit juice, it is easier to consume extra sugar without realizing it. Furthermore, consuming smoothies won’t count as more than one of your 5-a-day. Therefore, try to limit your consumption of them in your diet.
4.Check the labels on breakfast yogurts
Most of us have a pot of yogurt or two in the fridge. However, it’s important to check the labels on them to see how good they are for you. Yogurt can provide many health benefits including being good for healthy bones and teeth. Along with a good source for vitamin D, and helping you to manage your weight as you feel fuller. Unfortunately, quite a lot of yogurts are crammed full of ‘free sugars’, especially those aimed at children. Therefore, it is important to become more sugar savvy and spot ‘free sugars’ on the labels. Then ultimately try to opt for healthier options.