Cutting back on sugar

I was recently asked how to cut back on sugar.

A VERY good question.

When I started tracking my food I couldn’t believe how much sugar I was eating – it racked up beyond 10% of my daily calories pretty quickly.  Was i a sugar fiend?  Nope.  How did it rack up so quickly:

  • 2/3 pieces of fruit a day, often including or as well as a few raisins/sultanas or other dried fruit
  • low fat fruit flavoured yogurt
  • high sugar vegetables such as sweet potato, carrots, peppers, beetroot, etc
  • Milky fat free cappuccino
  • Cereal and Granola
  • Brown toast with jam

Nothing sinister, but it all soon racked up.  You start adding in chocolate, cakes, biscuits, full sugar fizzy drinks and sugar levels can go through the roof.

Now I DEFINITELY DON’T say cut any food groups out. I can’t stress that enough.

Or perhaps I should rephrase to remove the negatives YOU CAN EAT ALL OF THESE FOODS!

The key is moderation, and sneaky tricks so you don’t feel you are missing out.

I’m not preaching, it’s entirely up to you what you eat, but if you have read this far, I’m guessing you are keen to ‘eat clean’, healthily and naturally.

So, these are some of the tricks I use to cut back on sugar.

  1. Still eat fruit, but be mindful of which fruit you choose.  Berries are low in sugar, in contrast, tropical fruits are high in sugar.  Mix it up, have different fruits. Enjoy blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc with abandon. Eat bananas, pineapple and other high sugar fruits in moderation.
  2. Eat yoghurt and low fat dairy.  Studies show that people who eat low fat dairy lose more weight and fat than those who have a low dairy diet with the same calories. However, many yogurts are sweetened with sugar, so I buy plain yogurt – I know, I know, it tastes sour if you are used to eating sweetened yogurt. I am used to the taste but if I want to have a fruit yogurt, I simply add in some berries. REMEMBER not all yogurts are created equally. I bought Total 0% fat Greek yogurt at 4g sugar per 100g: Great.  But when I bought a supermarket own brand 0% fat Greek yogurt, it was 8g sugar per 100g: Bad.  So read the labels
  3. Keep eating veg – VEG IS GOOD. If you cut back on other sugars in your diet, then these shouldn’t cause a problem
  4. I have a cappuccino as a treat only – maybe once a week.  Otherwise I drink tea or filter coffee with a dash of milk, herbal tea or water.  I used to drink no added sugar squash, but it made me crave other sweet things.  Since cutting it out my taste for sweet things has reduced.  There are also arguments about artificial sugars, but I’ll save them for another day.
  5. Cereal and granola are considered healthy, but sugar can hide here.  I generally prefer oats/porridge on it’s own, or mixed with yogurt and fruit in my overnight oats.  If you like granola, make your own.  Sarah Wilson has a number of sugar free recipes.
  6. Make sure your bread is wholewheat/wholegrain rather than brown – brown doesn’t necessarily mean wholegrain!  Check the sugar content, and choose one with a lower sugar content.
  7. For jam I mash some berries.  Depending on how wet they are you could add chia seeds to thicken.
  8. Buy dark chocolate (check the sugar count), make your own sugar free chocolate using Lee’s recipe, or use raw cacao powder to create a chocolate treat.

What tips and tricks do you use to enjoy sweet treats without overdosing on sugar?  Let’s share our ideas!

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