A shocking 26% of adults are classified as obese, and only 26% of adults consume five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Furthermore, a horrifying 50% of sugar that children eat comes from sugary snacks and drinks. Cutting down on sugar in your diet is vital to leading a healthy life, not just for yourself but your children too!
Consuming excess sugar is bad for your health and can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and tooth decay. Cutting down on sugar in your diet will reduce the negative effects and be better for your overall health.
Read the fine print
When you are in the supermarket shopping, it’s easy to become swayed by a pretty food picture instead of reading the ingredients in foods. Nutrition labels will indicate how much sugar food contains and you will be able to compare which is the healthiest option. It allows consumers to see the nutritional value and the amount per serving of protein, carbohydrates, sugars, fat, saturated fat and sodium. Sugar also isn’t necessarily listed as ‘sugar’ in the ingredients, it can be as glucose, sucrose, maltose, honey, molasses, maple syrup, glucose syrup, hydrolysed starch, corn syrup, agave nectar, coconut palm sugar or treacle.
Drink more water
Sugary drinks, energy drinks and fruit juices are all full of sugar, and consuming excessive amounts is bad for your health. A 330ml can of Coca Cola contains over eight and a half cubes of sugar and one serving of orange juice consists of over five cubes of sugar. Instead of sugary drinks, water is a healthy substitute that curbs hunger and reduces sweet cravings whilst keeping you hydrated. If you aren’t a big water fan then try adding fruits to make it tastier and sweeter.
Read more: 5 tips to stay hydrated this summer
Minimise sugar filled desserts
We all love to have delicious desserts such as cakes, pies, doughnuts and ice cream, but it’s all about moderation. Desserts are loaded with sugar that causes your blood sugar to spike and leave you feeling lethargic, tired and wanting more. If you have a dessert craving try having some healthier options such as dark chocolate, dates, baked fruit with cream or fresh fruit.
Cut down on condiments
Sauces are one of the worst offenders for sugar and the amount of sugar in them is shocking. A 570g Heinz bottle of ketchup contains over 32 cubes of sugar, a 425g Heinz bottle of salad cream has over 18 cubes of sugar and a 480g Heinz bottle of barbecue consists of over 34 cubes of sugar. It can be hard to cut out condiments all together but try minimising your consumption of them. If you want to make your food more interesting try adding dried herbs and spices, fresh chili, yellow mustard or pesto.
Avoid sugary breakfasts
Breakfast cereals are packed full of sugar, which will cause a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels, then a couple of hours your blood sugar will crash. Sugary cereals can increase the risk of tooth decay, weight gain, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Coco Pops contains nearly 9 cubes of sugar per 100g, Cookie Crisp has 6 cubes of sugar per 100g and Frosties consists of 9 cubes of sugar per 100g. Popular breakfasts such as pancakes, waffles, muffins and jams are also full of sugar. Cut down on the sugar in your breakfast diet and switch to a low-sugar breakfast option instead, such as oatmeal, Greek yogurt, eggs or avocado.