Be sugar free this January – and for ever!

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We have spent almost a whole year in lockdown (I know!) and more recently we’ve indulged in rich food during  the festive season. At this time of the year we’d probably be hitting the gym or setting fitness and weight loss goals. Yet watching what we eat is equally important as the exercise we take, if not more so.

And it’s not just about how much we eat but what we eat also. Perhaps especially, how much of the bad white stuff we consume.

Sugar, in particular the processed kind, may be responsible for more health problems than fat content.

Sugar facts

Once the industry decided to make reduced fat or fat free products, the way of improving flavour was by adding more sugar (and salt).

Sugar has some preservative options. It is essential in some products, like bread, since they rely on sugar to activate the yeast.

Even if you don’t eat sweets, you may still consume sugar.

Check the packaging of what you buy to find the sugar content of it.

Even healthy foods and savoury foods can have high sugar content.

Sugar is responsible for dental cavities and may bring about other niggling conditions, like fatigue, bloating, cravings, irritability, acne, anxiety, all of which you may be tempted to treat with: more sugar.

These can then increase the chances or severity of more serious health conditions.

Sugar consumption has been linked to diabetes and even heart conditions, weight gain and general ill health.

 

The white stuff lurks in nearly 80 percent of packaged foods. We’re talking health foods, yogurts, whole-grain breads, green smoothies, and even savory items like sauces. The average American eats about 22 teaspoons—that’s 60 candy corns!—a day.

 

Tips on sugar consumption during a new year Lockdown – by Zain Ghani

Throughout this festive period, it can be very easy to indulge in sugary-based food products as this can be easily hidden in our popular festive foods and drinks. Many of us will have overindulged intending to cutback in the new year but the cold weather and news of another lockdown might have you reaching for something sugary.

In the short term, sugar can raise your heart rate and blood pressure (not particularly good for those with Diabetes and High Blood Pressure), and can provide the body with a burst of energy which once worn off your energy levels become low (this is when you tend to grab another chocolate or biscuit to lift your energy level back up!).

In the long term, too much sugar intake can lead to things like weight gain, heart
disease, high cholesterol and even erode your teeth!

Top Tips for Managing Sugar Intake

  1. Traffic Light System – Read the colour-coding on the packaging of items to see what ingredients are their most of (Green = Low, Amber = Medium, Red = High)
  2. Sharing is caring – sharing food between people rather than consuming a food or drink can reduce the amount of sugar consumed (again be mindful of Covid). Perhaps share the box of celebrations or part with a mince pie or two?
  3. Sugar Free Alternatives – This is a great way to reduce the consumption of sugar hidden in drinks mostly!
  4. Cooking from scratch – you know how much you are putting in and you are in total control. You have that chance to put a little less sugar in and save everyone from becoming incredibly hyper!
  5. Swapping sugar for a sweetener – When your next having a brew and your craving something sweet. Instead of adding sugar or going for a biscuit, go for a sweetener instead as these are low in calories but yet still pack a sweet punch without any effect on you (as far as we know to date.)