SCRAP THE SUGAR
While the enemy for years has been fat, it turns out that the number one enemy in our diets is sugar. Making small changes to your diet will add up over time and before you know it, you’ll be consuming less kilojoules every day
You can cut down on sugars by eating fewer sugary foods, such as sweets, cakes and biscuits, and drinking fewer sugary soft drinks.
Sugars occur naturally in foods such as fruit and milk, but rest assured that even though these do contain sugar, they don’t need to be cut out of our diets.
Sugars are also added to a wide range of foods such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolate and some soft drinks and juice drinks.
These are the sugary foods that we should aim to reduce in our diets.
Evidence shows that most adults and children consume more sugar than is recommended as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Many foods that contain added sugars also contain lots of calories, so eating these foods often can contribute to you becoming overweight.
Food and drinks that have a lot of added sugars contain calories, but often have few other nutrients.
To eat a healthy, balanced diet we should eat these types of foods only occasionally and get the majority of our calories from other kinds of foods such as starchy foods and fruits and vegetables.
Sugary foods and drinks can also cause tooth decay, especially if you eat them between meals.
The longer the sugary food is in contact with the teeth, the more damage it can cause.
The sugars found naturally in whole fruit are less likely to cause tooth decay, because the sugars are contained within the structure of the fruit. But when fruit is juiced or blended, the sugars are released. Once released these sugars can damage teeth, especially if fruit juice is consumed frequently.
For a healthy, balanced diet, cut down on foods and drinks containing added sugars.
These tips can help you cut down:
■ Instead of sugary soft drinks and juice drinks, go for water or unsweetened fruit juice (remember to dilute these for children to further reduce the sugar)
■ If you like soft drinks try diluting fruit juice with sparkling water
■ Swap cakes or biscuits for a piece of fruit
■ If you take sugar in hot drinks or add sugar to your breakfast cereal gradually reduce the amount until you can cut it out altogether, or try using a natural honey
■ Rather than spreading jam or honey on your toast try a low-fat spread, sliced banana or low-fat cream cheese instead
■ Check nutrition labels to help you pick the foods with less added sugar, or go for the low-sugar version
■ Try halving the sugar you use in your recipes — it works for most things except jam, meringues and ice-cream
■ Choose tins of fruit in juice or water rather than syrup
■ Choose wholegrain breakfast cereals, but not those coated with sugar or honey