10 easy ways to reduce your sugar intake

The stats don't lie; we're all eating far too much of the sweet stuff. Here we share simple tips to help you and your family cut down.  

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Ah, sugar. Enemy of Jamie Oliver and savvy foodies everywhere. Never tempted by sweets or cake? Beware: it's not just the sugar in your morning tea or coffee, or typically 'sweet' foods that you need to avoid. Sugar can be hidden in surprisingly large quantities where you least expect it: in dried fruit, 'healthy' yoghurts and, of course, all starchy carbs.

There's a lot of research to show that sugar can be both addictive and seriously detrimental to your health, and your ability to keep control of your weight. New research from Public Health England has even found that children aged between four and ten are consuming between three and five stone worth of the white stuff per year

But how can you avoid surplus sugar sneaking into your daily diet? We've picked out some of Mumsnetters' most useful tips on the small changes you can make to the food you and your family eat, to help you all cut down. 

1. Switch to porridge

Most breakfast cereals - even those, such as granola, which purport to be healthy, are loaded with sugar. Porridge is a great alternative; mix up your toppings so you don't get bored.

2. Avoid "low-fat" foods

Keep your eyes peeled for anything marked "low-fat", which can often mean it's padded out with sugary carbs to replace lost flavour. Bring back the butter.

3. Eat more protein

Sugar cravings hit when your blood sugar levels spike, then plummet. Tackle this by increasing the protein in your diet - it'll leave you feeling satisfied for longer by keeping your blood sugar levels more stable.

4. Re-think your yoghurt

Sweetened fruit yoghurts should be treated like a pudding and not - as the adverts would have you believe - a virtuous snack. Have sparingly. Make the unsweetened, full-fat Greek stuff your go-to instead.

5. DIY as much as you can

Ready-made foods have an alarming amount of sugar (have a look under 'carbohydrate'). Jarred sauces are particularly bad culprits. Try to reduce how much you buy them, and aim to cook from scratch more often.

6. Chocoholic? Go dark 

Dark chocolate has less sugar than milk or white, giving you a cocoa hit without disrupting your blood sugar. It's been linked to a range of healthy mind and body benefits, too. Just remember to stop after a couple of squares. 


7.Think wholegrain, wholegrain, wholegrain

The old rules still apply. Aim to eat things in a state as close to natural as possible, and swap white carbs for wholegrain or wholemeal wherever you can.

8. Get your (savoury) bake on

If you have the time, or a bread machine, replace shop bought loaves with your own - you'll know exactly what's gone into them. 

9. Distract your cravings with other flavours

Got a particularly powerful sugar craving? Some Mumsnetters substitute other strong-tasting snacks, like cheese with oatcakes and pickled onion, which help take the edge off. 

10. Remember that fruit doesn't always mean healthy

If you're trying to reduce the amount of sugar you consume, don't overlook your fruit intake. Fruit juice and dried fruit are full of a type of sugar called fructose; even if they count towards one of your five-a-day, they are still very sugary.

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Last updated: over 1 year ago