Friday, 10 January 2014

Easy ways to cut down on sugar

The Action on Sugar campaign was launched yesterday to tackle concerns that we’re all consuming too much sugar. 
While the debate rages on what can be done about the national obesity problem, here are Healthy Food Guide’s practical tips on how to reduce your own sugar intake – plus we reveal which foods are higher in sugar than you may have thought.

7 ways to replace the white stuff:

1.     Get baking – if you like the occasional cake or biscuit, make your own so you can control the ingredients (you can normally halve the sugar content without affecting the quality). Look out for healthier sweet recipes in the pages of HFG.
2.     Try sugar substitutes – natural products like stevia are sweeter than sugar, with fewer calories.
3.     Use spices for flavour without the sugar – try cinnamon, mixed spice and ginger in stewed fruits, porridge and puddings.
4.     Watch the drinks – alcohol, fizzy drinks and juices are an easy way to overload on sugar without noticing. Try sparkling water with lemon slices and fresh mint sprigs, chilled herbal teas or diluted juice.
5.     Look out for hidden sugar in unlikely foods (see below) – look for ingredients ending in ‘ose’ on the ingredients label and check out the value for sugars: less than 5g per 100g is considered low in sugar while more than 15g per 100g is considered high (although this value refers to all sugars, not just added ones).
6.     Choose lower-sugar versions of cereals, baked beans, soups, canned tomatoes and ketchup.
7.     Eat fewer processed carbohydrates such as white bread, croissants, muffins, biscuits, cakes, chocolate and sweets. These convert rapidly to glucose in the blood, so high levels may contribute to energy highs and lows and cravings. Switch to wholegrains instead.

Do you know where sugar is lurking?
Food doesn’t have to taste sweet to contain sugar. Check out some of the more unlikely products you’ll find it in if you look closely…
* 30g cornflakes = ½tsp
* 1tbsp salad cream = ½tsp
* 1tbsp balsamic vinegar = ½tsp
* 1 slice bread = ½tsp
* 1tbsp tomato ketchup = 1tsp
* Half a large tin mushroom soup = 1tsp
* 2tbsp coleslaw = 1tsp
* A third of a jar of salsa = 1tsp
* 30g branflakes = 1½tsp
* 125g ready made Bolognese sauce = 2tsp
* 400g lasagna ready meal = 3tsp
* 400g chicken tikka masala ready meal = 3½tsp

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