We all do it – pick up the healthiest looking products in the supermarket without realizing they contain hidden sugars written in cryptic terms. And at home too there are common habits that we fall into which add to our sugar intake. So here are my top tips to help you avoid these common traps whilst still enjoying all the fun of your favourite flavours.
In the supermarket
- Dress up yoghurt:Even though fruit is good for you, most fruit yoghurts contain added sugar. Try a much healthier option by stirring some fruit puree into plain yogurt.
- Dare to compare: Products labels as ‘no added sugar’ are often sweetened with ingredients like grape juice concentrate and can sometimes contain more carbs and calories than reduced sugar. Either have a quick compare or simply go for the reduced or low-sugar version.
- Low fat might mean high sugar: Check the labels on reduced fat, low-fat and fat-free alternatives as they often contain more sugar than the regular version.
- Fruit is nature’s sweet: Choose ready to eat dried fruits instead of sugary sweets. In dried fruit natural sugars come packaged with vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.
- Know your cereal: Avoid breakfast cereals coated with sugar or honey and sweeten your cereal by adding fresh or dried fruit. It’s worth checking the list of ingredients to see if sugar has been added.
- Make smart choices: Choose fruit canned in fruit juice rather than syrup. Better still – pick fresh!
- Dilute fruit juice: Try mixing fruit juice half-and-half with fizzy or still water. Although fruit juice contains natural sugar, which is healthier than processed sugar, the body processes it in exactly the same way.
- Hide temptation: Studies show that if you keep the biscuit tin on display you’re more likely to succumb to temptation. So hide away your sweets and biscuits, or better still – don’t buy them!
- Every teaspoon adds up: Don’t add sugar to hot drinks like tea and coffee. Even 1tsp quickly adds up if you drink several cups a day.
About our guest blogger…
Fiona Hunter is a top independent nutrition consultant. Previously a leading light in dietetics for the NHS and a nutritionist at Good Housekeeping, she currently writes for several national publications, TV and radio.