How to Kick your Added Sugar Habit

Is 2021 the year you are going to kick your sugar habit? Whether you go cold turkey or just want to sensibly navigate sugars, here are some of our in-house nutritionist’s favourite hacks and hints to help you.

Look for Hidden Sugar 
Consuming less sugar isn’t always as easy as cutting out sweet foods. Sugar is added into many foods, savoury options too such as soups, crackers, crisps and breads.

So how do we navigate this? Read your food labels to understand where sugar has been added.

First up, ingredients are listed in highest percentage first so look out for any sugar in the first five ingredients. And remember sugar has many names including sorbitol, dextrose, fructose, glucose, barley malt, cane syrup.

Don’t Skimp on Fat and Protein at Meal Times 
When we are short on fat or protein in our meals we are more likely to feel hungry a few hours later. And when we are hungry, we are more likely to reach for sugary/starchy foods. Ensure one quarter of your plate is protein and add some good fats too.

If you are opting for something sweet, pairing it with fat and/or protein can help slow the release of the sugars, giving you less of a high and consequent sugar crash low.

Avoid Sweet Breakfasts 
If we start the day with something sweet we hit go on the blood sugar rollercoaster – a situation where our blood sugar yo-yos’ all day leaving us with energy highs and lows. When this happens and our energy crashes, our body tells us to reach for fast acting energy sources – aka sugar. Start the day with something that has protein, fats, complex carbohydrates and veggies such as an omelette with sweet potato and spinach.

Choose One and Once 
If you can’t kick the sweet tooth entirely set yourself a limit of one time per day and one portion — instead of picking at sugar all day long. if you choose just one opportunity you are still able to enjoy something sweet without it impacting your health goals. That one opportunity is for one portion — not five!

Opt for Naturally Sweet Alternatives 
While berries don’t taste the same as sweeties; eventually as you cut back on refined sugars you will begin to notice that naturally sweet foods taste sweet. And while it might be tempting to reach for coconut sugar or date syrup in your baking —  when you add sugar, you add sugar. Instead reduce the overall added sugar and swap to non-refined alternatives that may be a little slower release and provide a little additional minerals and vitamins.

Make Simple Swaps 

Milk chocolate for 70% plus dark chocolate.

Sweets for fruit bowls and berries.

Fizzy drinks with sparkling water and herbs or explore MEDA’s range of drinks and mixers which are low in added sugars.

Use salsa instead of ketchup.

Add real fruit to plain yogurt.