You probably know that most of us are eating way too much sugar. It’s not just the loose white stuff or sugar cubes that you have to worry about, but the hidden sugars under its many aliases or highly concentrated food sources.
For many people, sugar can give you a temporary energy boost, lift your mood up, or keep your kids quiet! But while these effects are short-term, research shows that sugar may have a more serious impact on health and weight in the long-term.
It may seem like a huge challenge but cutting back on sugar is one of the most important things you can do to improve your family’s well-being today and tomorrow.
Here are 10 steps to get you started. You may find it easier just taking one step at a time.
1. Avoid soft drinks as these may have as many as 10 teaspoons of sugar per can.
2. Limit fruit juices as these can have as much sugar as soft drinks. To start off with, you can dilute 50/50 with water and gradually wean yourself off it.
3. Cut back on dried-fruit as these are a concentrated source of sugar. For example, a little box of sultanas may contain more than 40 very-easy-to-eat sultanas, whereas you’d be unlikely to eat 40 fresh grapes in one go. Therefore, it's usually far better to eat the whole fresh fruit.
4. Gradually reduce the sugar that you add to hot drinks and replace with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, which is great for balancing blood sugar levels and boosting metabolism.
5. Make sure you have good quality protein at each meal to help regulate those blood sugar levels and keep the sugar-cravings at bay.
6. Instead of eating platefuls of white rice and white pasta, replace these with smaller serves of wholegrain varieties and extra veggies.
7. Reduce the sugar content in recipes and try replacing with natural stevia or rice-malt syrup.
8. Avoid “fat-free” foods as these are often laden with sugar to make the food taste better and more addictive. Fat is not the enemy – we need good quality fats for many functions including many of our hormones.
9. Be mindful that foods made with artificial sweeteners come with their own set of health issues. Plus, they don’t actually satisfy your brain which may lead to subsequent over-eating or food cravings.
10. Be aware that sugar has a few aliases; some of the more common ones are sucrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, stevia, xylitol, dextrose, honey, agave, high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, rapadura and cane juice.
Look out for my next article which will give you tips on how to read food labels.
Discover a day in the life of Guardian children by exploring your local Guardian Early Learning centre on Saturday, 23rd February. As part of the National Open Day, participating Queensland centres are inviting you and your family to visit and find out what makes learning at Guardian so special.