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How sweet it is: Cutting back on sugar

by Wendy Martin (follow)
Nutrition (265)      Health Warnings (51)     
As a nation, we eat far too much sugar. So what does that mean?

sugar cubes
Sugar has been blamed for a large number of health conditions and we typically eat far too much of it. Image credit:The Stock Exchange.

Sugar has been blamed for a variety of ills and implicated in a host of other health conditions. Among them are obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and tooth decay.

If youíre trying to cut back on sugar in your diet, try some of the following suggestions:

Avoid sweet snacks
Most of the snacks we eat are unfortunately loaded with sugar. If you are a regular snacker, try something thatís less sweet such as unbuttered popcorn, fresh fruit or raw vegetables.

Get creative with desserts
For too many of us, the word dessert means gooey, sugary, and rich chocolates and sweets, but if you look again, there are plenty of sweet things you can serve for dessert that arenít going to overload you with sugar.

There are plenty of sugar free recipes online and low sugar options at your supermarket so that you won't need to cut out desserts and sweets entirely. Image credit Lin Kwan/sxc.hu.

Try a bowl of fresh raspberries or sliced peaches with a bit of honey and yoghurt or cream. Alternatively, there are a huge variety of sugar-free dessert options now available in local supermarkets that taste remarkably similar to their calorie-laden counterparts.

Get back to home cooking
Most of the prepared foods we buy have too much sugar (and salt for that matter) in them. Start making your own food and watch what you put in.

sugar cubes
Unsweetened apple juice can be a great substitute in recipes to cut back on sugar. Image credit Ove Topher/sxc.hu

For a good natural sweetener, try unsweetened apple juice. Substitute it for the liquid in a recipe and eliminate the sugar, itís an easy way to significantly cut back on the sugar and calories.

Cut out soft drinks
Did you know the average can of soft drink has approximately 9 teaspoons of sugar? If you simply can't say no to soft drinks at least try and reduce your intake. Putting slices of lemon, lime or cucumber into mineral water is a refreshing alternative.

sugar cubes
Read labels religiously. You might be surprised at the types of food that actually contain sugar. Many of them are savoury foods. Image courtesy Jason Anthony /sxc.hu

Read labels religiously
Youíd be surprised at the number of foods that contain sugar. Even foods such as a basic loaf of bread can have added sugar. Ingredients are listed on labels in the order thatís relative to the amount thatís in it. So steer away from products that list sugar early on in the ingredients list. Some breakfast cereals for example are made up of almost half sugar.

Many spices and seasonings can make a food taste sweeter without the sugar or calories. Try experimenting. Image courtesy Sarka Sevcikova/sxc.hu

Discover other seasonings
If you need to sweeten something, try a sprinkling of unsweetened shredded coconut. Or try experimenting with herbs and spices. Plenty of spices such as ginger, basil, coriander, and nutmeg are sweet and can add a delicious flavour to foods.

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