Excess sugar in our diet has been linked to unhealthy weight gain, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and tooth decay. Sugar is very addictive as it activates the reward system in our brains, so it’s very easy for that post dinner sweet tooth to evolve into a bigger problem over time. However, not all sugar is bad as there are natural sugars found in foods like milk and fruit that are far better metabolised by the body and contain higher nutritional value.
Reducing your sugar intake doesn’t have to involve a huge diet overhaul! In fact, with a few easy swaps and becoming more conscious of what you are consuming, you can see big improvements to the sugar in your diet. Rosie Mansfield, siggi’s Nutritionist shares her top five tips for reducing sugar intake, the easy way!
image via pinterest
1. Cook at home
Pre-preparing homemade lunches and cooking at home using fresh, local ingredients that are as close to their natural source as possible is an easy way to keep track of how much sugar you’re eating, as you know how much is going in to each dish.
2. Read the back of packs
Start reading the ingredients list of packs of packaged food. Some foods that may surprise you with the amount of excessive and unnecessary sugar are sauces, soups, salad dressings, yoghurts, sports drinks, and juices. Sometimes sugar likes to hide, look out for it moonlighting as many other aliases such as dextrose, maltose, or sucrose.
3. Look out for liquid sugar
Think about drinks you regularly enjoy. The easiest cut is to simply toss out the jar of sugar next to the tea and coffee. Make it a priority to switch any soft drinks for sparking water infused with natural fruit, these beverages are so jam packed full of sugar that we must consider our health (and teeth) every time we reach for a can of addictive sparkly sweet stuff.
4. Check for lower sugar dairy
If you like a dairy snack, check the sugar content on the back of the pack before buying. Many flavoured yoghurts can have up to 25g of sugar per serving, I’d recommend keeping a look out for varieties that are flavoured with real fruit or vanilla and contain between 7-9g of sugar per 100g.
5. Swap sweets for fruit
If you have a sweet tooth, keep some fruit on hand to enjoy as a sweet snack. Fruit contains natural sugars and are full of important fibres that help you feel full, support gut health and improve disease prevention. Sugars from processed foods such as soft drinks, juices and lollies offer very little nutritional value.