Cutting sugar out of your diet doesn't just mean skipping that after-lunch Dairy Milk bar. Sugar, in all its forms, is present in many of the things we eat on a daily basis, but with some planning and attention, it's easy to start decreasing the amount your body takes in.
Here are some tips to get you started…
1. Read food labels
Many processed foods and sauces contain much more sugar than you might think. That's what makes them taste great and keeps them from going off, but it's not quite so beneficial to your body. Check ingredients lists before you buy things like ready meals, pasta and cooking sauces, salad dressings, and crackers to see how much sugar is in them. If sugar is close to the beginning of the ingredients list, that's a key sign the product you're about to buy is packed with the stuff.
2. Know the hidden names for sugar
Ingredients lists might not explicitly say "sugar," but that doesn't mean it's not in there. Words ending in -ose (sucrose, glucose) and anything with the word syrup in it (high fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, maple syrup) are all sweet and sugary alarm bells. Educate yourself!
3. Cut down slowly
Removing sugar from your diet immediately just isn't a realistic option for most people unless you have the time and money for a complete diet overhaul. Cut back slowly – go for a plain latte instead of a flavoured one, or use cinnamon in your porridge instead of honey.
4. Add flavour in other ways
Vanilla, citrus, and spices like nutmeg and cinnamon are great ways to add sweet flavours to your meals without using sugar. Sugar-free baking recipes are all over the internet so next time you're about to make something sweet, check out some sugar substitutes for your ingredients list!
5. Don't go artificial
Yes, artificially sweetened drinks and foods have fewer calories, but they trick your body into thinking it's about to get an energy boost when it's not. In fact, artificial sweeteners are often associated with weight gain, rather than loss.