Sugar and Your Diet – How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake

06 Apr 2018

Category: Educational

Reduce Your Sugar Intake by Cutting Out Sugary Drinks

With the Sugar Tax soon coming into force, there won’t only be a health impact from drinking sugary drinks. As of April, the sugar tax will push the price of sugar-filled drinks up by close to 10p. The new tax, called the soft drinks industry levy, will be introduced in an attempt to help curb obesity and diabetes. Though the government say this is not a tax on consumers, the price of soft drinks is still expected to rise.

The sugar tax will be a welcome move for health campaigners. Excessive consumption of sugary drinks is suggested by some to increase the risk of dying prematurely from heart disease. When testing a group of adults over 45, scientists found participants who drank at least 24 ounces of sugary beverage daily were twice as likely to die from heart disease as those consuming less than one ounce. Among those who consume large amounts of sugary drinks, there is an increased risk of death from all health-related causes. This information, coupled with the impact sugary drinks have on obesity, should make us all want to cut down. Here are some ways to reduce your sugar intake through drinks.

Swap Out High-Sugar Drinks

We’re not saying you need to get rid of all sugar in your diet. However, it is wise to reduce your sugar intake if it’s too high, or you may face some serious health consequences. A simple and easy way of doing this is swapping high-sugar drinks for low, or sugar-free alternatives. Drinks to steer clear of if you’re being sugar conscious are ginger beer, coca cola, energy drinks and added sugar fruit juice & cordials.

Instead of those drinks, why not try one of the following.

Homemade Sparkling Fruit Water

Sparkling water gives you all the fizz and excitement of soda, without the high sugar levels. You can mix sparkling water with low-sugar cordial for a fizzy, yet healthy drink, or for an even healthier alternative try a homemade sparkling fruit water. Simply add your chosen flavours of fruit into the water, then muddle the berries or citrus around until the water is infused with the flavour. Some of our favourites are grapefruit and thyme, or strawberries and basil.

Vegetable Juices

Though this may only appeal to the bolder of you, vegetable juice is incredibly good for you and low in sugar. Whereas fruit juice is high in sugars (although they are natural), vegetable juice is not. Juiced veggies are incredibly high in antioxidants and nutrients. Our recommended flavours are avocado, cucumber, celery, lime and ginger.

Iced Tea

Shop bought iced tea can be very high in sugar. To combat this, try making it at home! It’s really easy to do, and very refreshing. Simply make a large batch of herbal or fruit tea and leave to chill, then serve with a slice of lemon or orange. Alternatively, buy a flavoured green tea such as mango, and the sweet flavour is already there.

Coconut Water

This health craze is here to stay, and it’s easy to see why. Coconut water is incredibly hydrating and rich in electrolytes. Just ensure you get unsweetened and unflavoured coconut water, as there’s plenty out there that are artificially enhanced with sugar and flavours.

Use Natural Sugar Alternatives

It’s hard to cut out sugar completely. However, there are natural and effective alternatives that will still satisfy your sweet tooth. Artificial sweeteners do exist, but there is controversy surrounding some of them, such as Aspartame as some research suggests they are linked to cancer. Rather than choosing artificially manufactured sweeteners, people are instead trying to consume less sugar altogether, or are choosing natural sources of sweetness.

Stevia

This sugar-free, carb free, calorie free natural sugar substitute is how many big businesses have got around the new sugar tax. Stevia is a natural sweetener and is not chemically composed or artificial. You may think this natural sweetener holds all the answers, however, many people do not like the taste of it. This is because it has a slightly bitter aftertaste which means some people notice the difference when it is used to replace sugar in their favourite beverages. According to some, the natural sweetener is said to be up to 30 times sweeter than sugar.

Agave Nectar

This nectar has a syrup like texture similar to honey. It isn’t cheap, but it’s about as low as you can go on the glycemic index before being completely sugar-free. This syrup is also sweeter than sugar, meaning you need less of it to get your sweet fix.

Honey

A natural syrup made by bees, honey is a great alternative to refined sugar. It has a slightly floral taste that sets it apart from sugar and gives it it’s own unique flavour. Like agave, it is also low on the glycemic index due to the fact it is natural.

The Alternatives

In the UK, drinks generally contain less sugar than in America. Obesity is a growing problem all over the globe though. As a nation, we do love fizzy drinks. In 2015, we got through roughly 232.9 litres each. To combat the impending sugar tax, many manufacturers have changed recipes to reduce the amount of sugar in their beverages. Instead of sugar, many have turned to artificial sweeteners so that they don’t have to pay the tax. The soft drinks sector has reduced it’s sugar levels by 13.6% since 2012, while sugar and calorie intake from all other takeaway food and fast food is increasing.

Around 57% of the soft drinks market is taken up by low-calorie or no-calorie drinks. This shows how keen we are as a nation on fizzy drinks. The fact that there are so many “healthier” alternatives is positive though. Many people struggle to drink the correct amount of fluid over a day, and some people find it boring to drink glass after glass of still water. Having a wide selection of no/low-calorie drinks means people can stay hydrated while drinking something sweet or fruity that encourages them to stay healthy and hydrated.