Watching the sugar in your diet is the new health trend, but is it just a trend or is there some truth behind it? Research shows that regulating the sugar you have in your diet can help you to control certain health issues such as heart disease, obesity, dental cavities. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests "that the most likely consequences of sugars consumption beyond the levels described by the food guide pyramid are over-consumption of energy and micronutrient inadequacies."
It may come as a shock to you at how many of the foods that are branded as "healthy" contain added sugar. Energy bars, flavoured yoghurt, fruit roll ups, are all deemed ‘health foods’, but many of them contain more than the recommended daily allowance of sugar in one serving. It is important to read the labels of all products to determine their sugar content per serving. Remember therefore that 4g of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon. The current recommendation for women is to have no more than 6 teaspoons per day. For men 8-9 and for children 4.
Giving up sugar can be difficult, especially giving up those soft drinks and fruit juices. The following are a few tips:
- Add flavour to your sparkling water: instead of those soft drinks buy some sparkling water and add a slice of lemon, orange, lime or a sprig of celery or mint. You can also add a few splashes of maple syrup for added sweetness.
- Coffee and tea: wean yourself off the teaspoons of sugar you may add to your coffee or tea. It is easier than it sounds!
- Go for the fruit when you are craving sweet rather than the chocolate bar. Dates are particularly sweet-quenching. Pit a date and add a walnut in its place – just like nut chocolate, only healthier!