Healtheries Tips for Reducing Sugar Intake

Healtheries Tips for Reducing Sugar Intake

Author -  Emma Baldwin

Sometimes it can be a grind cutting down on all that sugar. Check out our top tips.

We are born with an innate liking for sweet foods, which is a good thing from an evolutionary perspective! - It allowed our ancestors to identify readily available sources of energy during times when food was scarce, therefore enabling the survival of our species. These days though, sugar is not only present in everyday foods like fruit and dairy which make up part of our balanced diet, it is also added to almost anything and everything you might find in the supermarket aisle making it incredibly easy to obtain, sometimes without even realizing it!

As mentioned, the sugars in our diet come from a number of sources, and include those naturally present in foods such as vegetables, fruit, cereals and milk, as well as those added to food and beverages during manufacture. ‘Free’ or ‘Added’ sugars are commonly found in manufactured foods and beverages, and also include the simple sugars used in cooking or in the home, those naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended we reduce our daily intake of these free and added sugars from our current 20- 30 teaspoons, to less than 12 teaspoons (or 50g) per day (adults) in order to reduce our risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and improve dental health (1).

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Here at Healtheries we have put together some of our top tips and tricks to help reduce your intake of Free and Added sugars:

  1. Reduce the serving size of sweet treats by downsizing your dessert bowl. Research shows that the larger the plate, the more food we will attempt to put on it, and therefore, the more sugar consumed regardless of how full we actually are. 
  2. When buying chocolate or sweet treats, try not to get hooked by the bargain buys. Bigger is not better, and only means that you are going to eat more in the long run. Think quality over quantity. 
  3. Practice eating mindfully, savouring each mouthful, enjoying the taste, flavour and texture of each bite rather than simply inhaling the sweet treat on your plate, feeling unsatisfied and reaching for more. 
  4. There is no need to give up fruit! Whole fruits and vegetables contain intrinsic sugars which are digested & absorbed more slowly than free sugars. Fruit also contains essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Two serves of fruit per day will help you in meeting the daily requirements for these nutrients. 
  5. The sugar content of most recipes can be reduced by 1/4 or more. Experiment by reducing the amount of sugar added to recipes, or substitute a portion of the sugar for a naturally sweet fruit or vegetable alternative such as pureed dates, mashed banana, apple or kumara! 
  6. Adding a pinch of salt enhances the natural sweetness of a food, as do certain flavours like vanilla, mint and cinnamon. Try adding a dash of any of the above to baking or a dessert and notice the difference. 
  7. Use the nutritional information panel to compare the sugar contents of similar packaged foods and hunt out the lowest sugar option. Be sure to check out the fat content also, as sometimes the lower sugar versions will contain more fat to compensate, and vice versa. 
  8. Minimise sugary drinks, confectionery, pastries and baked goods. These products are energy dense and nutrient poor. 
  9. Gradually wean yourself off free and added sugars. It can be tough but our taste buds do adapt. You will be amazed at how good other foods taste, and how incredibly sweet those high sugar foods really were. 
  10. Sugar substitutes such as the natural plant extract Stevia can be a great way to keep that sweet taste while reducing the actual sugar content of food and drinks. 

The Healtheries Baking Bits range consists of the '99% Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate Baking Bits' - intensely cocoa in flavour, and the deliciously creamy 'No Added Sugar Milk Chocolate Baking Bits' with 90% less sugar than regular milk chocolate. Both products are perfect for helping you transition from the types of foods that are typically high in added sugars. Create lower sugar baked products & desserts, or add to a trail nut mix, and don’t forget to try some of the above tips and tricks to help you on your journey to successfully reducing sugar intake.

1. World Health Organisation (WHO), Guideline: Sugars intake for adults and children. Geneva: World Health Organisation; 2015.