How to reduce your sugar intake is not something you’re probably thinking about after Easter. It’s hard to pass by the cupboard and not have a little nibble at the kid’s Easter eggs, isn’t it (not that I can speak from experience obviously….)!
But it’s so easy to get into bad habits, and sugar is one of those foods that is very, very easy to become addicted to. Reports show that refined, processed sugar is even more harmful to our health than previously thought.
It’s recommended that we consume approximately 30g of sugar a day TOTAL (equal to about 7 teaspoons of sugar) – 4g is nearly equal to one teaspoon.
So this month, I thought I would give you some advice about cutting down your sugar intake and how to be wary of those hidden sugars in our food (not the obvious crème egg ones!).
Why should you reduce your sugar intake?
Refined sugar means that it has undergone processing, which actually strips it of any nutritional value, deeming it as “empty calories”. These are our everyday sugars – granulated, caster and brown – that are included in all our favourite treats like cakes, yoghurts or fizzy drinks to name a few.
Our bodies use sugar as fuel. The body then uses this to create energy in the body. But if you don’t use this energy, it instead turns to fat which it stores instead.
Eating too much processed sugars inevitably leads to weight gain. So by cutting it out as much as you can, you will reduce your weight, lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease and joint health as well.
The gut can also be harmed by too much sugar, leaving it inflamed. This inflammation can then lead to further damage to the lining of the gut, causing problems like Leaky Gut and Crohn’s Disease. This impacted gut health will, of course, lead to your general health decreasing over time too.
What should you be careful of when reducing your sugar intake?
The easiest way to start reducing your sugar intake is to look at the labels on the foods that you buy. There are a lot of hidden sugars in food and often foods that you think are healthy can be full of sugar in other forms.
- When looking at the nutritional values, it is the part underneath the Carbohydrates section that says “of which sugars” that you need to look at. The lower this number, the better.
- Anything ending in “ose” is a sugar. So check how much is in the ingredients. Ingredients are listed in order of importance (how much is in the food) so if near the beginning, it is more.
- Don’t be fooled by “natural sugar” either – it’s still sugar, so still be careful how much has been added. The figure doesn’t lie.
- Be careful of “low-fat” options. Yoghurts are a classic choice – even low-fat versions are packed with sugar too in sweetener form. Opt for full fat Greek yoghurt instead.
- Fruit Juice – This has had all the fibre stripped out of it, so nutritionally empty. You’d be better having a plain piece of fruit instead and know the sugar consumed has added benefits with it.
- Salad dressing wouldn’t be a food item you would expect to have a lot of sugar in, but sometimes they are pumped full of extra sugar to make up the taste. Beware of the portion size you have too – it’s normally about a tablespoon per person!
- Bread has at least half a teaspoon of sugar in and some up to 1 per slice, so be careful how many pieces you are having through the day – toast, sandwiches and bread and butter with tea will all add to your sugar intake. Sorry!
So not only do sugary foods have to be on the hit list, but it benefits you to pay attention to what is in any foods you are consuming.
Reducing your sugar not only helps your health; it also directly helps your gut, which as all Colonics Queen readers know is the key to good health.
As an added bonus, it’s been shown that people who consume less sugar look younger than those who over consume, due to a more stable blood sugar. I’m always looking for any anti-ageing tips out there! Reducing it will also lead to less mood swings, better skin and reduced cravings for something sweet!
So good luck bypassing those Easter eggs! Opt instead of a bowl of grapes or dates. Your gut and your waistline will thank you for it!