Sugar can cause a whole host of health issues, wreaking havoc with our bodies – which is why cutting down our sugar intake remains a hot topic.
Hidden in a multitude of different foods and drinks, you’re probably having way more sugar than you might think.
That ice cold beer, that buttery corn-on-the-cob, that cheeky smoothie – the sugar cubes and grains all add up.
Causing issues such as tooth decay and weight gain, cutting down on sugar can have a real positive impact on your life and health.
An expert in this field, Ruari Fairbains, CEO of One Year No Beer, has shared his top tips on cutting out sugar so that you can reap the benefits.
With the average Brit eating or drinking around 60g of sugar every single day – most of us are ingesting three times the recommended limit of the sweet stuff.
This means that most of us are at risk of scary health conditions.
But Ruari says that if we ‘slowly but surely’ cut down the sugar in our diets, we can take back control of our health.
Sharing his tips and tricks, there are a few that might surprise you.
Swapping out the sugar
Possibly the most simple and straightforward tip – swap, swap, swap.
Swapping and replacing sugary snacks for healthier and more wholesome ones can be a really easy way to bid farewell to sugar.
Ruari explains: ‘Instead of stocking your cupboards with sugary snacks, replace the cereals, desserts, chocolate bars, chips, and any other sugar-rich food, with healthy snacking options.
‘These include whole wheat pretzels, popcorn, apple slices dipped in almond butter, unsweetened yoghurts, flavoured almonds, veggies, and hummus.
‘Sugary snacks are not going to taunt when they’re not within arm’s reach. Your future self will thank you in the long run!’
Watch your beer intake
Sad times if you’re a fan of drinking an ice cold beer in the sunshine, but your beer intake could be spiking your sugar levels without you even knowing it.
Ruari said that surveys show alcoholic beverages account for about 11% of 30 to 64-year-olds in the UK’s daily intake of sugar.
‘These drinks also stimulate your appetite, which can cause hunger pangs, leading to overeating.
‘Alcohol can also affect your willpower and judgment, setting you up for bad food choices.’
Recommending something that might help you leave the booze behind, he says: ‘Try taking a break from alcohol via an alcohol-free challenge where you can reset your relationship with alcohol and reduce your intake in the long term.’
Cut out the corn-on-the-cob
Much to our surprise some veggies, like our beloved corn, actually have a pretty high sugar content. Eeek.
Ruari recommends avoiding starchy veggies like peas, carrots, corn, sweet potatoes, and lima beans.
‘Starchy greens contain higher amounts of sugar, therefore, eating them can quickly ramp up your sugar intake—and as you know, the more sugar you consume, the more you crave.
‘Instead, choose low-carb veggies, such as onions, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, or cauliflower.’
Sleep is underrated, and with our busy lives taking over it can be hard to get a good amount of zzz’s.
‘Sometimes all you need to do to keep sugar cravings at bay is to fix your sleeping habits,’ Ruari explains.
‘People who are sleep deprived consume more junk food, mainly from high-calorie fatty foods than people who meet their daily sleep quota.’
Look at the labels
With sugar added into most foods as a preservative, it pops in all manner of foodstuffs even if they don’t taste sweet.
Ruari explains that peanut butter, tomato ketchup and an array of different sauces and condiments have sugar hidden in them.
‘It’s hard to spot the word sugar on food labels because it can go by as many 60 names—all standing for added sugar in one form or the other. For example, sucrose, glucose, and other words ending in “ose”.’
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