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Top tips for giving up sugar

sugar consumption

Chocolate, sweets, cake - all pretty common life essentials vices that are given up and given into time after time (especially here at GNHQ). With that said, we're particularly interested in the benefits of kicking the sugar habit once and for all. With research claiming sugar is worse for us than carbs, fats and practically anything else you can think of, it may not be a bad idea to try and cut down or (if you're brave enough) cut out the sweet stuff for good. Are you ready to let go of the health industry's new nemesis? 


Why give up sugar?

Research has shown that most of us - knowingly or not - have too much sugar in our diets. Far from being something willingly indulged in from time to time, sugar is hidden in some suprising places and manages to sneak up on us unawares more often than you'd think. 

Apart from the obvious effects on teeth (fillings, anyone?), eating too much sugar can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Not to mention that 3 o'clock slump that has you reaching for yet another chocolate digestive for a quick boost.



1. Ditch processed food

Ready-prepared food is often packed full of unnecessary sugars. Try and cook from scratch wherever possible, avoiding ready meals and the like at all costs.

Lots of breakfast cereals - yes, even those specifically billed as diet cereals - have hidden sugars, with granola and muesli being two of the most 'butter-wouldn't-melt' offenders.

Why not try making your own granola? It's quick, easy and you know exactly what you're in for when you dig in. Try this recipe, but substitute the honey and maple syrup for coconut oil.



2. Be prepared

Grabbing sugar-free food on the go can be a minefield when you're caught out, so it's best to prepare meals in advance whenever you can. Making a little bit more at dinner time and saving it for lunch the next day kills two birds with one stone and ensures that you're eating healthy meals that can be warm and ready in a couple of minutes.



3. The bad news about fruit

Just because the sugar in fruit is fructose, and not the traditional white cane sugar that we all think of when avoiding temptation, doesn't mean it's good for you in large quantities. Fruit juices, dried fruit and smoothies all contain lots of sugar, while losing much of the fibrous goodness that raw, whole fruit contains.

Try and limit the amount of fruit you eat and instead opt for vegetables or protein-based food. Yes, fruit is healthy and nutritious. Yes, it's fresh and delicious... (hey, that rhymes) but try and stick to no more than two pieces of fruit per day, and go for lower-fructose (and glucose) options, such as berries, raspberries and blueberries.



4. The good news about alcohol

While some alcohols, like champagne (sorry), are higher in sugar, some contain much less fructose and are better options if you're out on the tiles or enjoying a glass at home. These low-fructose options are: 

  • Spirits - gin and vodka are good options (mixed with soda water - tonic water is full of sugar)
  • Wine - red is better than white, but both are fairly low in fructose
  • Beer - contains no fructose at all. Excellent!



5. Focus on what you can have

There's something about deprivation that triggers a touch of obsession for some - and focusing on what you can't have just makes it that much harder to resist.

Instead, try to think about the wholesome, tasty meal you're going to have for lunch or dinner, or have your favourite sugar-free snack (try these coconut balls for a sweet treat). There are plenty of fresh, healthy foods out there that will scratch that sweet itch for you without actually succumbing to cake. 



6. Check out the alternatives

Though you may just have to accept that cutting out sugar means eating fewer sweet things, there are natural, sugar-free alternatives to the white stuff. Try using these to sweeten the odd dessert instead...

  • Xylitol - add to tea or coffee, or sprinkle on your cereal
  • Rice syrup - subtler than traditional sugar so you might need to add a lot!
  • Stevia - easy to use in baking
  • Coconut - a great natural sweetener
  • Cinnamon - a spicy alternative to sugar


Disclaimer: The information on our diet pages is only intended as an informal guide and should not be treated as a substitute for medical advice. Gransnet would urge you to consult your GP before you begin any diet if you're concerned about your weight, have existing health conditions and/or are taking medication.



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