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Not all sugars are equal but we do need to look at how much we are consuming. It won’t be news to you but the average adult is eating way more sugar than necessary, which is linked to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatty liver disease and obesity… to name a few!

The majority of this sugar isn’t always related to natural sugars that occur in products including fruit and milk, meaning this will be due to heavily processed foods and even those disguised as ‘healthy’ and ‘low fat’.

Thinking of ditching sugar or curious as to how you could limit it?

Firstly, I wouldn’t recommend a ‘sugar diet’ – it’s about tweaking your lifestyle and habits whereby choosing natural, unprocessed foods becomes the go-to and not quick fixes. Sadly, the majority of our food is processed and refined, which is damaging our health so ditching this side of it should be explored for your health.

Sweet Tooth?

Ditching the white stuff doesn’t mean that you can’t get your sweet fix anymore. What I can show you through my recipes and online course is how to replace sugary foods with healthier (and even tastier!) alternatives, meaning you get your fix but also a dose of essential vitamins and minerals.

How To Cut Out Refined Sugar

1.Slowly does it!

Take your time, gradually reducing the amount of sugar in your diet will make it more manageable and will be more realistic.

Begin by limiting the most obvious sources of sugar. Baked Goodies – yes, that means those tempting cakes, muffins, and brownies, which look good on the outside but aren’t so good on the inside. We can recreate versions of these!

Then start reducing the amount of sugar you have, if any, in your hot drinks. Eventually, you can reduce this to not needing that extra sweetness as your palate cravings will adapt.

2. Read labels

Getting used to reading labels of a products can help identify types of sugars to avoid and whether or not to use that item.

The tricky thing is not all sugars are labelled “sugar”. With various names and in many different syrups and concentrates, there are over 60 different names for sugar on food labels.

The main culprits are:

  • cane sugar or brown sugar
  • corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup
  • evaporated cane juice
  • invert sugar
  • beet sugar
  • coconut sugar
  • maple syrup
  • agave syrup
  • rice syrup
  • juice concentrate
  • honey
  • demerara
  • sucanat
  • panela or piloncillo
  • turbinado
  • muscovado

Alarm bells should also ring for any ingredients that end with “-ose”:

  • sucrose
  • glucose
  • dextrose
  • fructose
  • lactose

3. Avoid simple carbs

It’s best for you to avoid simple carbohydrates such as white flour, white pasta, and white rice. The reason being, is that these foods can be quickly broken down into sugar in the body, which can cause the blood sugar levels to spike, meaning you end up craving more or get that energy slump! Swapping these for wholegrain options will make a difference straight away.

4. Avoid artificial sugars

Many people will swap refined sugar for artificial sugars and although they can give that sweet punch or certain acquired taste with little or no calories, they should still be avoided. Artificial sweeteners will trick the body to think it’s consuming sugar, which can lead to you craving more sugar to get that next fix. Sounds addictive? That’s because it is.

An example of artificial sugars include:

  • Splenda
  • Stevia
  • Equal
  • Nutrasweet
  • Sweet’N Low

Products labeled as ‘low sugar’, ‘ low fat’, ‘ low calorie’ or ‘diet’ will still contain sugar but in a chemical form. These include:

  • aspartame
  • sucralose
  • saccharin
  • acesulfame k or acesulfame potassium
  • neotame

5. Do not drink sugar

Fizzy drinks can, sadly, be many people’s downfall as these are often laden with sugar. Try replacing these drinks with unsweetened herbal tea, coffee without sugar, sparkling mineral water, or just plain water. You will be surprised at how much your sugar intake will be reduced and you will be more hydrated. This can help a person reduce their sugar intake and stay hydrated.

6. Focus on whole-foods

Processed foods are more likely to contain refined ingredients or added sugars, so focusing on consuming whole and complete foods will ensure you are including ingredients such

A diet with a focus on eating whole and complete foods will be rich in:

  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • tofu
  • fish
  • whole, unprocessed grains and legumes
  • nuts and seeds

7. Spice It up

The palate often misses sugar because it’s craving flavour, therefore using sweet-tasting herbs and spices are worth exploring. Products such as salad dressing and condiments, pasta sauce, breakfast cereals, milk, and granola bars often have sugar in their ingredients list. Check out my blog on seasoning for more information.

How will it help?

It may feel like an effort to begin with and will take short while for your body to adjust but know that you will feel so much better for it. Your body doesn’t know how to process refined sugar, panics, then stores it as fat! Reducing your visceral fat (fat around your vital organs) is crucial and embarking on a life without so much sugar will only benefit you.

You will notice:

  • Weight loss
  • Improved energy
  • Clearer skin
  • Less mood swings
  • The risk of digestive conditions and type 2 diabetes will be reduced.

I’m ready but I don’t know what to cook?

I’ve launched a new online food course, which shows you how to prepare the most delicious recipes that your body and organs will adore. It’s a step-by-step guide; with videos, downloadable recipes and real food. You can find out more about it and enrol here: https://jayhalford.com/inspired-cooking-course/

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Author Jay Halford

I am a health-conscious chef specializing in plant-based cuisine that incorporates juice programmes, food programmes, online cooking courses, recipes and educational resources that inspire the pursuit of a healthier way of living. I believe that your diet is supposed to be your greatest ally, supporting you to feel strong, look good, think clearly and achieve your goals, nothing less. A consistent healthy plant-based diet does that 100% - and I am committed to helping you experience its real healing power so that once you discover it, you'll never want to look back.

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