What is the Problem with Sugar?
Did you know that each of us eats an average of 140 teaspoons of sugar per week?
Excessive sugar consumption not only causes weight gain but is also linked to:
Obesity and metabolic syndrome
Type 2 diabetes
High blood pressure and cholesterol
Non alcoholic fatty liver disease
Dental plaque and cavities
Reducing the amount of sugar we eat and drink can help to reduce the risks for all of these conditions and can also help you to lose weight.
Other benefits include having more energy, clearer skin and less mood swings!
One of the most important things to remember when changing your diet is to do so gradually. Start by reducing or even cutting out the obvious high sugar choices like chocolate, cake and biscuits.
Sugar has many guises and a lot of them are hidden, so understanding nutrition labels on food can help you to reduce the amount you are eating.
High in sugar: 22.5g or more of total sugar in 100g
Low in sugar: 5g or less of total sugar per 100g
Some packaging uses a colour coded system that makes it even easier to make better for choices.
Think traffics lights! Go for more green and ambers and less red foods in your weekly shopping.
What to eat and when
Starting the day off with a high sugar breakfast may lead you to want higher sugar foods for the rest of the day. Switching to a lower-sugar cereal or those with no added sugar, such as plain porridge, plain whole wheat cereal biscuits or shredded whole grain types could cut out up to 70g of sugar from your diet over a week.
Porridge oats are cheap and contain vitamins minerals and fibre. If you make it with milk, try swapping for water and adding some dried or fresh fruit instead of sugar.
If you prefer toast for brekkie, then change to a wholemeal or a granary bread and reduce the amount of spreads like butter and jams to a minimum, or again, try lower sugar options.
Many foods including ready made soups, stir in sauces and ready meals contain hidden sugars. Try making your own if you have the time, and if not, reducing the amount you eat and changing to more healthier alternatives when eating out or opting for a take away can make a difference to the amount of sugar you are consuming.
Even your condiments like ketchup are high in sugar and although they are served in small quantities, over time these extra grams of sugar soon add up.
Do you need pudding after every meal or can you save it for special occasions? If you eat biscuits, cake and goodies everyday, add a pudding to the menu and your sugar intake is way too high.
A Greek yogurt with some added fresh fruit should be enough to satiate you after a meal if you really think you need a pudding!
Or think about reducing your sugar intake earlier in the day do you are not over eating daily.
It’s obvious to us that chocolate, cake, crisps and biscuits are higher in sugar, salt and fat but even with their healthy image cereal bars are in fact higher too.
Swapping to healthier options like fruit, unsalted nuts, unsalted rice cakes, oatcakes and homemade plain popcorn will reduce the amount of sugar, salt and fat in your diet.
What should you be drinking
Nearly a quarter of the added sugar in our diet comes from sugary fizzy drinks, sweetened juices, squashes and cordials.
A 500ml bottle of cola contains the equivalent of 17 cubes of sugar so sugar free alternatives are better, but better yet, water has no sugar at all!
If you take sugar in your hot drinks, try reducing the amount of sugar over a period of time to give your taste buds time to adapt!
Even more healthy options like fruit juices and smoothies contain a lot of sugar.
If you struggle to drink water on its own, opt for a sugar free squash to flavour it, or try adding a slice of real fruit.
Remember to drink plenty of water too!
Personal Trainer | Bromsgrove | Fitness | Health | Wellbeing