Five steps to lower your daily sugar intake

Lowering your daily sugar intake may not be easy, but it’s not impossible. CW offers some tips on swapping sugar-dense snacks for healthier options

As we reported in Cycling Weekly on July 10, government health advisers have stated that most people should halve their daily intake of sugar.

According to the report drafted by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, in a bid to put a halt to the obesity crisis in the UK, as well as reducing the cases of diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay, added sugars should make up only five per cent of our daily intake. For men, this totals 35g and for women just 25g.

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Cutting sugar sounds easy enough; after all, we all consume too much of it, but as a few of us in the CW office have found, it’s not as easy as it seems — the main reason being that there is sugar in practically everything, and it all adds up. What’s 
worse is how misleading food and drink labels can be.

For example, a ‘low sugar’ drink, which contains 5g of sugar per 100ml may seem appealing — especially when you compare it to a can of cola, which has a whopping 35g of sugar. But chances are, it isn’t a 100ml-size drink you’re holding. It’s more like a 330ml bottle or even a large 500ml. And if it’s the latter you will actually be consuming 25g of sugar — over half of your daily allowance.

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It doesn’t stop there; certain chocolate bars, yoghurts and cereals may seem like they contain small amounts of sugar, but you must look at the serving size to see how much sugar they contain.

Another problem we face is that foods and drinks that contain sugar do taste good, which is why for a lot of people they can become quite addictive. Cutting sugar out of your diet isn’t easy. If you’re like us, and are struggling, try some of these steps that we have been adhering to.

Step 1: Bin it!

If it’s in the kitchen cupboard, it’s likely to get eaten. So bin it. It may seem like a waste of money, but you won’t be buying them again, so be bold. Biscuits, cake, chocolate, ice cream and processed foods; throw them away.

Step 2: Dig healthy snacks

Healthy doesn’t mean boring. Full fat plain yoghurt with blueberries, nuts, fresh vegetables with hummus, are snacks you can nibble on throughout the day, which will appease your hunger pangs without topping up your sugar intake.

Step 3: Work lunch

This is the trap that many fall into. After a slow, laborious morning at work when energy levels start to dwindle, most of us will reach for something sugary to cheer and even wake us up. Prepare lunches the night before with fresh salads and lean proteins or alternatively you can even take in your dinner leftovers.

Step 4: 
Avoid concentrate fruit juices

It’s staggering how many people pick up a bottle of apple juice in the belief that it’s a healthy drink. Have a quick look on the nutrition label and feast your eyes on the sugar content. You’ll be flabbergasted. Here’s a thought: why not drink a glass of water and eat an apple?

Step 5: 
Accept that it won’t always work

From time to time, humans are weak-minded and make mistakes. If you’re really craving that Kit-Kat to the point where you can’t stop thinking about it, just eat it. Get it in and move on. Sometimes, just sometimes, we are allowed to give in.