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
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.