Diabetes. Tooth decay. Triglycerides. Heart disease. Stroke. Weakened immune system. Any guesses as what the common link is? Sugar. For decades now, sugar levels in our foods have steadily increased, leading to a multitude of unwanted health problems. Our overconsumption of sugar has led many to consider cutting their overall intake, a task that is easier said than done considering its’ prevalence in everything from soup to breakfast cereal.
The World Health Organization recommended in 2014 that we half our daily sugar intake from 10% of our diet to 5%, or roughly 50g a day per adult, and 30g for children. When you consider that a single 355 ml (12 oz) can of Coca Cola contains 39g of sugar, it really puts our consumption in perspective. So what exactly can you do to reduce your sugar intake?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, cutting out processed foods and opting for healthier alternatives continue to be the best option available to ensure you are consuming a healthy diet. Another possibility is to carefully read over the nutritional labels on whatever you buy to be able to make more informed decisions regarding your purchases.
Of course, sugar does occur naturally in several natural products, but in much smaller doses to their processed counterparts. Staying away from processed sugars such as corn syrup and molasses is a step in the right direction, and making sure you know exactly just how much sugar you are ingesting will also help give you an idea at exactly how much you are consuming.
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service advises that more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g is high and that 5g of total sugars or less per 100g is low, with any number in between considered medium. This is an acceptable range that you should keep in mind when reading labels, and could lead to you making several changes to your usual purchases.
Cutting down on sugar can also be done fairly easily by cutting out products which you know are already high in sugar, such as fizzy drinks, certain processed breakfast cereals and syrups. Additionally, if you take sugar with hot beverages you can gradually reduce your intake until you get used to no longer having it. These are all very simple tips that do not take much time or effort to implement, but rather rely on your own determination.