There’s been plenty of focus put on how much sugar is in our diets recently. With the introduction of ‘The Sugar Tax’, the Government is clearly trying to do something about it, but what steps can we take at home to tackle this ever-growing epidemic? Here, we’ve put together 10 top tips to help you reduce your sugar intake, without sacrificing flavour.
Watch those drinks
Most people would gag at the thought of swallowing nine teaspoons of sugar, some artificial flavouring and a cup and a half (375ml or 12 ounces) of carbonated water. But that’s what’s in a typical sugar-sweetened fizzy drink. Also, many drinks claiming to contain natural fruits, to be preservative-free or rich in vitamins and minerals pack the same sugar punch as major brand sugary drinks. Eradicate all sugary drinks from the fridge and cut out impulse convenience store purchases.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are always better
Isn’t fruit naturally rich in sugar? Yes, but when you consider the alternatives, there is far less sugar in whole fruit than just about all varieties of candies and sweets, as well as most supposedly healthy muesli snack bars. Fruit is nature’s ready-made snack.
Go easy on those pasta sauces
Many savoury tomato-based sauces, including ketchup, are jam-packed with sugar. It pays to look carefully at the label and find those that are lowest in added sugar. Better still, make your own. Simply mix canned or fresh tomatoes, some fresh herbs and simmer.
Same goes for salad dressings
Enjoying a healthy salad? Adding a splash of dressing? Think again. Supermarket salad dressings can be a hidden source of sugar, so maybe it’s time to try your own – a drizzle of Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil is a sensational dressing. Mix in some fresh herbs, try lemon juice or pomegranate vinegar for that extra pizazz.
Cultivate a natural yogurt habit
Stop and take a careful look at your yogurt tub. Most fruit yogurt is sweetened to the max. Cut to natural yogurt. Need a sweet rush? Add fruit!
Desert the dessert
These are almost always sugar-laden. Spend a few moments looking at the label on your favourite ice cream – sugar, lots of sugar! A fresh fruit salad is a nice, natural alternative, but the main thing is moderation, so avoid desserts with every meal.
Bitter is better
Chocolate is a sweet indulgence that should remain an occasional one. If you must break into a fresh block, choose dark chocolate. What’s not cocoa/cacao is generally sugar, so the darker the better. And don’t forget to share.
Say when to pre-mixed alcoholic drinks
Ready-mixed spirits or spritzers often have the same levels of sugar as any other carbonated beverage. Check the sugar content of your favourite tonic too.
Find replacement taste sensations
There is a whole world of flavour to be enjoyed, so open your palate to the many intense, spicy, bitter, intriguing and wonderful tastes out there. Plus, adding spice such as turmeric, chilli, coriander, cumin or nutmeg not only adds taste, it can have health benefits too.
Remember, keep an eye out for sugar in disguise
There are dozens of different names for sugar listed on food labels. The more common names you’ll see are: sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, barley malt, coconut sugar, dextrose, maltose, rice syrup, and fruit juice concentrate. Very few foods actually label themselves low in sugar, so you will have to search for yourself.
This piece originally appeared on lesmills.com.