The perils of sugar: How to cut down your intake

The correlation is there for all to see; an increase in the availability of refined foods has seen health in most countries plummet to dangerous levels.

The result? Well, let’s not get too pessimistic, but it’s safe to say that obesity, heart disease, and umpteen other conditions, along with the associated insurance implications, are there for all to see.

One thing that many of these refined foods have in common is sugar. It’s been around for years – and it certainly isn’t going away.

However, it can be controlled. Just like smoking, sugar can be addictive, and through today’s article, we will lay down several tips that can help you cut down your intake for good.

It starts with your hot drinks 

Many of us have a sweet tooth, and one of the easiest ways to get our sugar hit is through our hot drinks. A small cappuccino can have around 6g of sugar, while a grande version can have 12g.

That might not sound like a lot, but when you consider that the recommended daily intake is around 30g, it adds up.

You don’t have to eradicate sugar from your drinks but start slowly weaning yourself off. Instead of a full spoon, try three-quarters, and work backwards. Before long, you won’t notice the difference. In fact, there will probably become a time where you start to appreciate your hot drink for its other flavours – and the sugar is too overwhelming!

Don’t be fooled by ‘healthy’ snacks 

Muesli bars, granola, and yoghurt all seem like healthy snack options. And they can be – but only if you’re vigilant about the sugar content.

Many yoghurts, for example, can have around 10-15g of sugar per 100g. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but a standard pot is generally around 125g. That means you could be consuming most of your daily sugar intake in one go!

When it comes to snacks, always check the label. The lower the sugar content, the better.

Cut out sugary drinks 

This is one of the most challenging things to do, but also one of the most important. Fruit juices, fizzy drinks, and energy drinks are all loaded with sugar and can damage your health.

A can of Coca-Cola, for example, contains around 35g of sugar. That’s more than you should be consuming in an entire day!

If you find it difficult to cut out sugary drinks completely, start by reducing your intake. Instead of having two cans of Coke a day, have one. And instead of having a can with every meal, have water or unsweetened tea or coffee.

Be careful with condiments 

Many of us don’t think twice about adding a dollop of ketchup or a spoonful of honey to our meals. But these condiments can be surprisingly high in sugar.

Ketchup, for example, can have up to 4g of sugar per 100g, while honey can have up to 80g per 100g.

Again, it’s all about moderation. Be mindful of how much you’re using, and try to find sugar-free alternatives where possible.