Many of us would like to cut down our sugar intake at this time of the year,
but it can be difficult to resist the craving for sugary, sweet foods.
Try the tips below to reduce your sugar intake.
•• Eat plenty of fibre. Fibre makes your body feel fuller quicker during
meals, and keeps you feeling full for longer. Replace refined sugars
with fruit and white bread with whole wheat choices. Add extra
vegetables to your meals every day.
•• Sleep at least eight hours each night. Sleeping less may make you
crave sugary foods and drain your energy during the day, making
you burn fewer calories.
•• Eat several small meals a day – breakfast, lunch, dinner and two
snacks rather than three big meals. Don’t skip any meals during the
day. Skipping meals may cause you to overeat at your next meal.
Your body compensates for the skipped meal earlier in the day.
•• Snack on finger foods between meals and avoid foods that are high
in carbohydrates. Sugar causes mood swings and quick changes
to your energy level. Your energy level peaks after eating a high carbohydrate
meal, but dips shortly afterwards, leaving you hungry
before your next mealtime. Try carrot and celery sticks.
•• Avoid eating when you are angry or emotional. Go for a walk or
attend a yoga class.
•• Participate in regular exercise or play a sport that you love and
look forward to. This will get you over that ‘couldn’t be bothered’
attitude. Your body produces endorphins when you exercise,
releasing serotonin, the feel-good hormone, into your bloodstream.
These hormones also inhibit food cravings and burn extra calories
throughout the day, making it easier to compensate for a mistake
when you slip into a food craving.
Sugar raises your blood sugar quickly, leading to the inevitable ‘sugar highs’
followed by a crash. So what are the alternatives?
•• Xylitol is an unrefined plant sweetener with a very low glycaemic
load and can be used in cooking and baking.
•• Coconut palm sugar is as sweet as sugar with the same amount of
calories, but raises blood sugar more gently. It also contains B
vitamins and minerals.
•• Stevia is a herb that is much sweeter than sugar, with insignificant
•• Maple syrup is delicious and sweet, with just over half the calories
of sugar. It is made from the sap of maple trees and contains small
amounts of vitamins and minerals.
•• Honey has fewer calories than sugar, but is almost as sweet. It is
often antibiotic, especially raw local honey.
•• Blackstrap molasses is a by-product of sugar refining. It’s very high
in iron and has fewer calories than sugar. However, its sweetness is
due to the same molecules as sugar.
•• Fruit concentrates are lower in calories than sugar and raise the
blood sugar more gently. You can get fruit concentrates as liquids or
spreads, often organically grown.
•• Fructose is marketed as a natural alternative to sugar, but it’s
actually manufactured from industrial glucose. It has the same
amount of calories as sugar, but does raise blood sugar very slowly.