With all the debate about Jamie Oliver’s suggested ‘sugar tax’, at least it has made everyone consider the harmful effects of excessive sugar. I’m not sure I agree with taxing people for having the odd sugary drink here and there, but I am certainly an advocate of cutting down on excessive added sugar. Benefits can include losing weight, lowering blood pressure, lessening many health risks such as diabetes and increasing your mental wellbeing.
Here are my top five tips for cutting down on sugar:
- Limit soft drinks as much as possible
If there is anything you should cut out, it’s sugary soft drinks. Replace them with water, tea, coffee rather than fizzy drinks like diet coke, squash etc. if you can. I honestly don’t miss them at all since cutting them out. I have the odd one here and there, particularly when I’m having a spirit and mixer at the weekend, but I make a rule not to during the week.
- Do not put sugar in your hot drinks
If you are drinking several cups of tea a day and add a teaspoon into each one, the amount of sugar you’re consuming will end up sky high. Start by adding sweetener, try some fruity herbal teas which are naturally sweet or have a hot water with lemon and a little honey. Just like with soft drinks, it might be hard at first, but I promise it gets easier the more you do it.
- Be careful of your fruit intake
A surprise to some, you do need to be wary of consuming a high level of sugar within your fruit. Although much better than added sugar, I found it surprising to see how much sugar I was having due to eating three – five pieces of fruit per day! Try to avoid only eating fruits with a high sugar content, such as mangoes, bananas and grapes. You can find a useful table to see which fruits are best to consume here.
- Find alternatives to high sugar alcoholic drinks
Cocktails, sweet white wines and some spirit and mixer drinks are very high in sugar and even if you’re eating all the right things, can quickly ruin your good work. As far as you can, stick to low sugar alternatives – I often drink vodka, soda and lime, gin and diet tonic or a small dry white wine. A mojito without the added sugar is a good cocktail choice. Beer is a better choice than cider.
- Find alternatives for sugary snacks
Rather than having snacks which are high in sugar, such as biscuits, cakes, chocolate bars etc., look into replacing these with other snacks. If nothing else, avoid sweets as they are not even that filling! I will write an article soon on my favourite low sugar snacks, which include foods such as veg and hoummous, fruit and peanut butter, and nuts. Watch out for the article 🙂