How sugar bites back

That white stuff is ma­jorly ad­dic­tive… and detri­men­tal to your health, too. Here’s a sim­ple plan to kick your habit and wean your­self off

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Contents -

EVEN IF YOU DON’T think you have a sweet tooth, know this: the av­er­age Aus­tralian consumes 60 grams of free sug­ars per day – that’s a whop­ping 14 tea­spoons!

Ac­cord­ing to re­search, one in two Aussies (52 per cent) usu­ally ex­ceed the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s rec­om­men­da­tion that free sug­ars (sugar added to foods and drinks by man­u­fac­tur­ers, cooks and you, plus those nat­u­rally found in honey, syrups and fruit juices) con­trib­ute to less than 10 per cent of your to­tal en­ergy in­take*. The potential fall­out in­cludes low en­ergy, ex­cess belly fat, early age­ing and long­term, se­ri­ous is­sues such as heart dis­ease, di­a­betes and obe­sity. Gulp.

Swear­ing off lol­lies and dessert won’t fully solve the prob­lem; tons of pack­aged foods – in­clud­ing pasta sauce, ketchup and salad dress­ing – is loaded with added sugar. A bet­ter plan: our handy guide to cut­ting back your sweet con­sump­tion, cre­ated with the help of Cosmo’s ex­pert panel. Read on…

1 KICK SOFT DRINKS TO THE KERB

A 375ml can of cola has roughly 40 grams of sugar. Juice may be nat­u­ral, but it’s no bet­ter: a 200ml glass can have around 15 grams. Stick with wa­ter, soda wa­ter or un­sweet­ened iced tea.

2 BUILD A BET­TER BREKKIE

Ditch sugar-bomb gra­nolas and choose a ce­real with fewer than 5 grams of sugar per serv­ing. Bet­ter yet: choose pro­tein, which con­trols your ap­petite all day. Hello, scram­bled eggs!

3 MAKE OVER HAPPY HOUR

A mar­garita can pack 35 grams of sugar! In­stead, drink dry wines like pinot gri­gio and sau­vi­gnon blanc, or sip a vodka and soda with a slice of lime for a no-added­sugar tip­ple.

4 GO DARK

IF YOU LIKE A CHOC FIX AF­TER DIN­NER, BITE INTO A SQUARE OF 70 PER CENT DARK CHOCO­LATE IN­STEAD (THE HIGHER THE CO­COA CON­TENT, THE LOWER THE SUGAR).

5 CRUSH THE 3PM JUNK LUST

Re­search sug­gests that your in­ner sugar mon­ster wakes up in the af­ter­noon be­cause your self-con­trol wanes by then. Dis­tract your­self with a celeb news re­cap or a 15-minute walk (sci­en­tif­i­cally proven to bust a snack urge at any time of the day).

6 Nosh enough

Re­mov­ing sugar kilo­joules from your diet? Re­place them with en­ergy from pro­teins, healthy fats and fruits and ve­g­ies. Eat­ing too lit­tle leads to more in­tense crav­ings (so not what you need).

7 BE­WARE THE FAKE-OUTS

Since your brain doesn’t recog­nise ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers as sugar, you’ll just end up want­ing even more sugar to com­pen­sate.

8 PLAY SLEUTH WITH YOUR SAND­WICH

Check bread la­bels. Buy only whole­grain va­ri­eties with at least three grams of fi­bre and fewer than 5 grams of sugar per slice.

9 DE­CODE YOUR DELI GOODIES

Some snack­ables from the deli counter, like dried fruit, are full of dex­trose. Be­fore you shop, re­search brands on­line to make sure your buys have zero grams of sugar.

10 DO THE MATHS

CHECK FOOD LA­BELS FOR GRAMS OF SUGAR, THEN DI­VIDE BY FOUR TO GET THE ROUGH NUM­BER OF TEA­SPOONS (YOUR DAILY IN­TAKE SHOULD BE SIX).

11 Know your en­emy

Sugar is one sly SOB with more than 50 dif­fer­ent names, of­ten end­ing in ‘-ose’ (e.g. fruc­tose, su­crose, mal­tose). Btw: honey, agave and maple syrup count, too.

12 RE­THINK YOUR COF­FEE ORDER

Take sugar in your tea or cof­fee, or par­tial to a flavoured latte? Try and re­duce your sugar ad­di­tions to your hot drinks, and limit your weekly num­ber of ones made with flavoured syrups.

13 SNACK SMART

A non-fat vanilla Greek yoghurt can have as much added sugar as a scoop of vanilla ice-cream (13 grams). Mean­while, en­ergy bars can de­liver more than you should eat in a day. Stick to plain yoghurt with fresh berries or low-sugar bars made with real fruit and nuts.

14 ORDER DESSERT

There’s no need to to­tally de­prive your­self! Eat­ing a few omg-this-is-amaz­ing sweets per month is re­ward­ing and, as tastes change, you may be sat­is­fied with just a cou­ple of bites.

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