Are you aware of how much sugar you consume?

12 June 2024
12 June 2024

Are you aware of how much sugar you consume?

Did you know that we often unwittingly ingest much more sugar than is good for us? Sugar is everywhere and is hidden in all kinds of foods. Not only in sweets and soft drinks, but also in many everyday foods such as breakfast cereals, bread, yoghurt and sauces.

Why is it better to cut down on sugar?
Sugar may provide energy, but too much sugar can lead to all kinds of health problems. By moderating your sugar intake, you can:

A healthier lifestyle by being more sugar conscious. How to achieve this.

  1. Start with your drinks
    Replace sugary soft drinks and juices with water, sparkling water with a slice of lemon, coffee or a soothing herbal tea with no added sugar. This simple switch can already make a big difference in your daily sugar consumption.
  2. Choose Unprocessed Foods
    Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins are good choices. They contain natural sugars, as well as fibre, vitamins and minerals. Choose whole-grain products instead of ‘white’ cereals to keep blood sugar levels stable.
  3. Natural sweeteners
    Replace your sweet snack with fruit or nuts. Try natural sweeteners such as honey, agave nectar or Stevia. However, use them in moderation as they still contain sugar and can cause blood sugar spikes.
  4. Preparation is everything
    Plan your meals ahead and prepare healthy sugar-free snacks like sliced vegetables, with a homemade dip. Good preparation will help you make sugar-free choices and resist temptations. Make weekly meal plans and use a shopping list to avoid impulsive sugary purchases.
  5. Cook at home
    Cooking at home gives you control over the ingredients. Experiment with herbs and spices to add flavour without sugar. Use healthy cooking techniques such as steaming, baking and grilling.
  6. Shop Smart by reading labels
    Many products sold as ‘healthy’ are surprisingly high in sugar. Be aware of hidden sugars by reading labels.

    – Check the Ingredient List: Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. If sugar is one of the first ingredients, the product contains a lot of sugar.
    – Note the different names for sugar such as fructose, dextrose, agave syrup and so on.
    – Note the nutritional value per serving: The listed sugar content is often given per small serving, while the actual consumption is usually larger.

Would you like to know more about how to read labels and avoid sugar? Then read the Diabetes Fund’s article ‘How to read a label’.