How to cut back on sugar: Healthy Diet Plan Summer 2020

Keen to reduce your sugar intake? Discover three top tips for adopting a low-sugar lifestyle, plus how BBC Good Food's Healthy Diet Plans can help.

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If you've made a resolution to cut back on sugar but you're not sure how to get started, there's no need to feel daunted. Our expert information, top tips and recipes will help you achieve your goal.

Our Healthy Diet Plans are a great way to kick-start a healthier way of eating. All our recipes steer clear of added refined sugars and follow the latest guidance on your intake of 'free' sugars. If you haven't already, sign up today to receive free online access to the plan.

We asked nutritionist Kerry Torrens BSc. (Hons) PgCert MBANT for her three top tips to cut back on sugar, plus how the recipes from our latest Healthy Diet Plan can help you achieve your goal.

Three tips for cutting back on sugar

1. Cook from scratch

Two bowls of chickpea soup

Cooking at home rather than eating at a restaurant or fast-food outlet is the single most effective way to control levels of added sugar in your diet. Try making your own pasta sauces and dressings, and opt for homemade salad bowls, wholemeal pasta dishes and soups rather than buying ready-made options – get all the recipes you need when you sign up to our Healthy Diet Plan. It seems obvious that cakes and pastries contain the sweet stuff, but did you know that many processed and packaged foods also contain hidden sugar, including supposedly savoury items? Our printable healthy cooking cheat sheet is a great way to keep track of little extras, such as condiments and sauces, that can inadvertently add lots of sugar to your daily intake.

2. Opt for naturally sweet fruit and vegetables

Chia and oat scones with strawberries and yogurt

As you wean yourself off 'free' sugars (the type we are advised to cut back on) choose natural sources of sweetness like fresh fruits or naturally sweet veggies such as sweet potatoes. This will help your palate adapt and will keep you energised so you don't experience a sugar crash. Naturally sweet fruit and vegetables, such as the fresh strawberries that we've used to top homemade breakfast scones (pictured above) in our Healthy Diet Plan, are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre. Try our inspiring snack and sweet treat suggestions, designed to complement a healthy balanced diet.

3. Eat enough protein and fat

A plate of tarragon chicken with potatoes and green vegetables

Include protein and healthy fats in all of your main meals – these macronutrients take more time to digest so they keep you fuller for longer, which is crucial for curbing cravings and keeping you satiated. The flavourful roast from our Healthy Diet Plan makes a great dinner, rich in protein from chicken and healthy fats from rapeseed oil. Some research has suggested that a satisfying breakfast may help you to make better food choices later on in the day, so you may find yourself less likely to reach for the biscuit tin. You'll find three delicious new breakfast recipes in our latest plan.

Enjoyed this? Get more health tips

Sign up for our free Healthy Diet Plan for Summer 2020
All you need to know about sugar
10 things you should know before giving up sugar

All health content on 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 healthcare professional. Any healthy diet plan featured by BBC Good Food is provided as a suggestion of a general balanced diet and should not be relied upon to meet specific dietary requirements. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

Comments, questions and tips

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9th Jul, 2018
I got rid of sugar from life in Dec 2017 until now. It WORKED!! I went down two sizes and I don't crave it at all! No candies, no chocolate and no junk. I eat proteins and greens and go low on carbs drink lots of water. Also walnuts, salads and high protein shakes occasionally...
9th Jul, 2018
Oh... One more thing I eat fruits moderately and frozen berries that help cut sugar cravings
Hamid Golizadeh's picture
Hamid Golizadeh
8th Jul, 2018
well, the suggested items, do not have the same taste which our brain is lyrically inclined. you gotta give us some ways to mentally control the temptation...
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