Cutting down on sugar is a health choice most of us could benefit from.
Among adults, free sugars – those added to food and drinks like breakfast cereals, chocolate and fruit juices – accounts for on average 9.9% of dietary energy in the UK, according to the British Nutrition Foundation. That’s nearly twice the maximum recommendation of 5%.
Cutting down on things like chocolate, cake, fizzy drinks and biscuits could be a good first step to cutting down your own intake – which should be no more than 30g per day for adults. But what else can you do to reduce the sweet stuff in your diet?
Read more:NHS weight loss tips include eating more of two types of food
1. Choose your vegetables carefully
It may seem that eating any vegetable is a healthy option, but when it comes to sugar not all are created equal. Try to stay way from starchy vegetables, which include peas, carrots, corn and sweet potatoes.
Instead go for vegetables that are lower in carbohydrates, like asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower. Peppers, courgettes, spinach and green beans are also good low-carb options.
2. Fix your sleeping habits
Insufficient sleep can result in sugar cravings, leading you to choose higher calorie foods. To counter this, make sure you’re doing everything you can to get a good night’s sleep.
Tips for a good night’s sleep include avoiding stimulants before bed, and making sure your room is as dark as possible. It is best to have a consistent routine – going to bed and getting up at the same times each day – while meditation may help you to wind down and doze off if your mind is racing at night.
3. Ditch sugary cereals
Breakfast cereals can be very high in sugar, so why not try porridge or some plain wholewheat cereal biscuits instead? You can sweeten your porridge using banana or dried apricots instead of sugar.
Even cutting down on how much sugary cereal you eat is a good start if you want to ease of gradually. If toast is your morning meal of choice, make sure you go for wholemeal bread rather than white.
4. Make your own meals
If you have time, then making your meals from scratch is a great way to cut down on your sugar intake. Things like shop-bought pasta sauces or soups can be surprisingly high in sugar, so making your own could be the way to go.
Similarly, condiments like tomato ketchup can be packed with sugar, so keep your intake to a minimum. For snacks, try nuts, rice cakes, oatcakes or plain popcorn instead of biscuits, chocolate and crisps.
5. Cut down on booze
According to the British Nutrition Foundation, alcoholic drinks account for as much as 10% of adults’ intake of sugar in some age groups. Cutting down on your intake can help take a substantial amount of sugar out of your diet.
Ruari Fairbains, CEO of One Year No Beer, said: “These drinks also stimulate your appetite, which can cause hunger pangs, leading to overeating. ” Of course, there are plenty of other health benefits to cutting down on your alcohol intake as well if you are a regular drinker.