Gransnet forums

Health

What is the best way to cut out sugar?

(95 Posts)
Doodledog Mon 14-Dec-20 13:43:28

Does anyone have any tips for cutting down on sugar, please? I am planning to start the new year by trying to lose the weight I have put on during lockdown, and to generally improve my health and fitness.

I do have a couple of underlying health issues which have kept me indoors and relatively sedentary, but (fingers crossed) when I get the vaccine I will be able to start to build up exercise, which will also help with weight loss.

I am, however, aware that I eat too much sugar. Not so much in sweets or added sugar, but in things like yoghurts, and other 'hidden' sugars. I think that if I can cut it right down it will help on a number of levels, so I am trying to formulate a plan now (I will try to enjoy Christmas first).

Has anyone done anything similar, and if so, do you mind sharing what worked for you? Where did you find the most benefit, and were there any surprises regarding sugar-laden foods?

Pantglas2 Mon 14-Dec-20 13:51:44

If you cook from scratch Doodledog you get to control the sugar content which is added to even savoury ready made stuff.

Regarding yogurt, just buy plain Greek and add a teaspoon of your favourite jam - it will still have less sugar(additive) than any other.

Puzzler61 Mon 14-Dec-20 13:59:44

On most if not all food packaging there are “traffic lights” that highlight the amount of sugar in the product.
If you gets used to looking at them you can choose brands with reduced reduced sugar e.g. yogurts, fruit juices but as Pantglas says putting together your own meals from scratch will give you the best control.
There is sugar in tomato soup, baked beans and bread! They certainly are hidden but it seems we can easily get a taste for them.

Puzzler61 Mon 14-Dec-20 14:00:37

get not ‘gets’.

Doodledog Mon 14-Dec-20 14:31:58

Thanks both of you.

I do cook a lot from scratch, and when applicable I am getting used to checking out the traffic light system, which is helpful.

It was things like bread that I was thinking of when I mentioned hidden sugar - I definitely seem to have a taste for food with sugar hidden in it, although I don't add it to very much and rarely bake or make puddings (although at least with things like that it is easy to know where to cut down grin).

I know that people say that once they have cut out (or cut right down on) sugar they lose a taste for it, which is what I am hoping will happen to me. I know that I would hate tea with sugar in it now, although when I was a lot younger I used to add it automatically.

BBbevan Mon 14-Dec-20 14:39:17

You say you eat yogurt. Never have low fat this is usually high sugar. Eat Greek yogurt. Not too much fruit either. Stitch to berries if you can. I eat low carb as I have reversed my diabetes and want to keep it that way Good luck.

Rabbit Mon 14-Dec-20 14:42:39

Dear Doodledog, first of all, don't feel guilty about food and eating: we all have good and not so good days. Try to pause before eating anything: dance; go out into the garden for 15 minutes of blitz work - weed, prune or cut the flowers to put in a vase, or simply take a stroll & sniff the flowers - all of it will lift your spirit & distract you from thoughts about food; drink a glass of water (sometimes being dehydrated makes you feel hungry when in fact your body needs liquid: human beings are like cucumbers - did you know? - we consist of 80% water!); eat an apple, a carrot, or plain yogurt with added friendly bacteria. I love very dark chocolate (it has serotonin - especially important on dark days in winter), nuts (walnuts, Brazil nuts - full of selenium - and cashews) and Manuka honey (very cheap in Lidl) but I eat them from early morning to mid-day, so I can work off the excess calories by working in the garden, doing house chores or walking to the shops, without actually exercising! Isn't it great?! - before the end of the day. I would advise you to avoid the carbs in the evening - that way you will not gain weight. Have more veg than meat, eat bean sprouts - they are an excellent source of elements & minerals & also proteins - the build-up blocks of the DNA. Try to go to bed before 10 or 11 pm - if you fall asleep after that time, your body will not be repairing broken DNA connections that are happening constantly, as we move through a day of living our lives,which some health professionals believe may lead to cancer. Once a day grate together a carrot, apple, fresh horseradish & 1-2 leaves of WHITE cabbage (the 1st will give you vitamins & calcium, the 2nd is good for general health & digestion and has good enzymes, the 3rd is a natural antibiotic without any side effects, & the 4th is a real wonder of the veggie world - it purports to kill off even the cancer cells! With regards to sugar/carbohydrate: your body needs a bit of it, especially BEFORE (not after) exercise or a walk: eat dry figs, dates, and always dilute your juices - with filtered or bottled water. Baked apples are good for digestion & contain less sugar & acid when cooked. I've read that in order to bring the insulin level down after eating, it is beneficialto have a bit of porridge after every meal: apparently, oats naturally regulate sugar level in our bodies. Avoid "healthy" energy bars - they are laden with sugar. Have a few sticks of celery every day - it cleans out the system & removes an excessliquid from your body that would have turned to fat otherwise. Have you got access to a sauna? Unless you have a heart condition or high bloodpressure - then it is best to avoid it. Sauna is a great way to lose at least a pound in weight after each session. Invest in a special body brush on a long detachable stick - undress, brush all your body in upwards strokes towards the heart & then have a shower. Doing that, you will increase the blood flow, will remove the toxins from the body via skin & remove the dead skin cells, allowing the body to breeze freely & oxygenating it. Also, have a "me" day when everything is allowed: getting up late or staying in bed, eating anything at any time you feel like - the trick is not to deal on that day with other family members' problems and requests - just for 1 day a week, once a fortnight or once a month - it is up to you. We all need to recharge our batteries, love themselves & be kind to our souls & bodies. If you love & respect yourself - the others will do the same. Good luck! The road ahead is conquered by walking - take somebody lovely & happy with you on a journey; give up demanding, angry or spiteful friends - fly away like a swallow that is free & is a joy to watch.

Jaxjacky Mon 14-Dec-20 15:08:42

As well as checking actual foods for sugar content, check tins, like baked beans, ketchups, dressings and soft drinks, including fruit juices.

lemongrove Mon 14-Dec-20 15:14:52

I have cut out as much sugar as humanly possible and have really lost the taste for it now.Coffee ( without any sugar at all)
Tasted terrible so I cut out coffee instead.Cooking from scratch is definitely the way to go.Beans and ketchup are available with low salt and sugar.

Doodledog Mon 14-Dec-20 15:18:38

Soft drinks are going to be difficult, I think. I don't drink alcohol, so get through quite a lot of cordial and so on.

I'll have a proper read of your post, Rabbit, thank you, but I can honestly say that a splurge of food-related guilt would do me no harm grin.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 14-Dec-20 15:24:31

I stopped putting sugar in bread dough years ago, the yeast works just as well without it.

When baking cakes, you can frequently reduce the amount of sugar by a third or even a half. But don't try this with pastry! It will come out like cement.

Never add sugar to savoury sauces, and don't put it on your porridge! Don't eat breakfast cereals.

I wouldn't worry about yoghurt - check the sugar content on the carton.

Situpstraight2 Mon 14-Dec-20 15:29:35

You might be better to count your carbs, sugar is rarely the biggest factor in weight gain, but bread, potatoes, sauces, rice and pasta, othose are the real villains!

janeainsworth Mon 14-Dec-20 16:08:53

Good luck Doodledog. Some authorities believe that sugar (as opposed to complex carbs) causes inflammation in the body & this is the underlying cause not only of CVD but many chronic conditions. So you'll be doing yourself a big favour.

Others have already covered most things but I'll just add that some people believe honey, date syrup, pomegranate syrup etc are ok because they're 'natural'. That may be so, but they still consist of sucrose, the enemy.

Re your soft drinks - beware of sugar-free alternatives as they bring with them different problems. Dilute cordial as much as you can, and if you're having a fizzy soft drink put loads of ice in to dilute it.

The other thing to watch out for is high-fructose corn syrup, aka invert sugar, glucose syrup & other names. This is in many processed foods and is even worse than sucrose.

If you have time, listen to Robert Lustig, paediatric endocrinologist at UCLA. He will convince you that you're doing the right thing.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCjatB98vw0

Blossoming Mon 14-Dec-20 16:16:14

Always read the label. ‘Reduced sugar’ doesn’t necessarily mean it’s low in sugar, if the food itself is normally very sugary. Bread has sugar added to activate the yeast. Making your own sourdough bread doesn’t require added sugar, though it’s a bit of a faff it is delicious.

welbeck Mon 14-Dec-20 16:24:30

cut out empty calories, like jam.
have greek yogurt, add blueberries or whatever fruit you like.
cut out ketchup. try other flavourings, spices.
low sugar baked beans are available.
try to find something else to drink. tea, coffee, water, milk.
good luck.

25Avalon Mon 14-Dec-20 16:30:33

Do read all the labels. It’s surprising what goods contain sugar - soup for instance so, if you can, make your own with no sugar. Most cereals have sugar in, yes even cornflakes ( sure they didn’t used to) but Rude Health Spelt Flakes have no sugar or sweeteners.
For Cordials try PLJ lemon juice which has positively no sugar. It does take some getting used to but you can always use it on fish as well or anywhere you would use a lemon. Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s stock it.
Try sprinkling a little Cinnamon on Yoghourt and add your own fruit. Cinnamon on porridge is also good.

BlueSky Mon 14-Dec-20 17:01:43

How do you cut back on carbs when you don’t eat meat fish or eggs? I find this a real problem and possibly the reason why I don’t lose weight.

growstuff Mon 14-Dec-20 17:15:30

25Avalon

Do read all the labels. It’s surprising what goods contain sugar - soup for instance so, if you can, make your own with no sugar. Most cereals have sugar in, yes even cornflakes ( sure they didn’t used to) but Rude Health Spelt Flakes have no sugar or sweeteners.
For Cordials try PLJ lemon juice which has positively no sugar. It does take some getting used to but you can always use it on fish as well or anywhere you would use a lemon. Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s stock it.
Try sprinkling a little Cinnamon on Yoghourt and add your own fruit. Cinnamon on porridge is also good.

Homemade soup is unlikely to be without sugar, as veggies contain loads of sugar, albeit with other nutrients as well.

BlueSky It's very difficult for a vegan to cut down on carbs.

Gwenisgreat1 Mon 14-Dec-20 17:21:32

grandtanteJE65 I never put sugar in short pastry and it's normally quite edible?

BlueSky Mon 14-Dec-20 17:25:43

Growstuff are you a vegan/vegetarian? You might have mentioned it before. I’m a strict veggie, eat cheese but not eggs.

25Avalon Mon 14-Dec-20 17:34:50

Take your point Growstuff but homemade soup surely better than boughten. Diabetes U.K. have recipes for soup with little sugar. Similarly fruit has natural sugars in too so should be in moderation.

growstuff Mon 14-Dec-20 18:02:36

BlueSky

Growstuff are you a vegan/vegetarian? You might have mentioned it before. I’m a strict veggie, eat cheese but not eggs.

No, I'm not but I've thought about and have a number of friends who are. I'm diabetic and have looked in some detail about what I could eat and it would be very little. I hardly eat any red meat, but I do eat chicken, fish, eggs and dairy products. I'd really struggle without eggs.

Avalon I know I'm being pedantic, but I sigh a little when people say they eat no sugar, when they do eat fruit and veg, which are made up mainly of sugar. As with smoothies, veg soup is mainly sugar without the fibre. It's actually healthier to eat whole veg, preferably raw.

I'm not even sure it's possible to cut out all sugar from a diet.

I agree with you that carb counting is more productive than just watching sugar, if the aim is to lose weight.

growstuff Mon 14-Dec-20 18:03:58

I once had a GP, who was as thin as a rake and a great meat eater. She used to call veggies "crunchy carbs".

Baggs Mon 14-Dec-20 18:32:47

At the risk of seeming glib, I suggest that a good start in trying to cut down on sugar is to stop eating sweet stuff.

Disclaimer: I haven't read the thread. I'm replying to the OP.

biba70 Mon 14-Dec-20 18:38:25

which is exactly what people who have not got a clue, say.

Yes, cut sweet stuff- but most sugar does in people's diet/s does NOT come from sweet things. So yes, a bit glib and not particularly useful.