8 ways to cut down on sugar
Eating too much sugar can have negative effects on your health and well-being. Nutritionist Kerry Torrens shares some simple ways to cut down on the sweet stuff.
We know that eating too much sugar isn't good for our health. Research has shown that consuming high amounts of sugar contributes to conditions such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay. While natural sugars are found in fruits and vegetables, these are considered to be healthy as they come with a host of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, meaning that they often have less of an effect on blood sugar.
The real issue is added sugars, such as those found in highly-processed foods like white sugar and corn syrup. These are often snuck into refined foods to improve the taste and can quickly add up if you're not careful.
Whether you're looking for sweet substitutes, sugar-free baking guides or simply want to find out your recommended daily amounts, find all the answers in our sugar hub.
8 ways to cut down on sugar
Making a few adjustments to your diet can help you cut down on unnecessary sugar consumption:
1. Reduce the sugar you add to hot drinks
Do so gradually to give your tastebuds time to adjust. Try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to a cappuccino or hot chocolate. Cinnamon has several health benefits and adds flavour without the sweetness.
2. Avoid low-fat 'diet' foods
These tend to be high in sugars. Instead have smaller portions of the regular versions.
3. Be wary of 'sugar-free' foods
These often contain artificial sweeteners like sucralose, saccharin and aspartame. Although these taste sweet, research suggests that they don't help to curb a sweet tooth, sending confusing messages to the brain that can lead to over-eating.
4. Balance your carb intake with lean protein
Include food like fish, chicken, turkey and tofu in your diet. Protein slows stomach emptying, which helps manage cravings. Try our tuna, asparagus & white bean salad.
5. Switch to less refined options
Swap white bread, rice and pasta for wholegrain versions like oats, granary and wholemeal breads, brown rice and pasta. Try our mixed seed bread.
6. Utilise spices
Reduce the sugar in recipes by adding spices to boost flavour and taste. Try our spiced apple pie.
7. Reduce liquid sugar
Stick to one glass of fruit juice a day (dilute it and enjoy with a meal to protect your teeth) and keep sweet soft drinks and alcohol for the weekends. Enjoy herbal teas or water with slices of citrus fruits for flavouring. Learn more about the health benefits of lemon water.
8. A healthier pick-me-up
Have a piece of whole fruit with a handful of nuts or a small tub of plain yogurt. Both contain protein which helps balance blood sugar and energy levels. Try our cinnamon cashew spread with apple slices, or our berry yogurt pots.
Useful resources for cutting down on sugar
Davina McCall: How to be sugar-free
Our favourite lower sugar recipes
BBC Good Food's guide to sugar-free baking
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10 things you should know before giving up sugar
All you need to know about sugar
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This article was published on 18th November 2020.
Kerry Torrens BSc. (Hons) PgCert MBANT is a BANT Registered Nutritionist® with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
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