Sugar cubes scattered across a blue surface.

4 ways to break up with sugar


Sugar is like a drug – you get some of it, and you want more. You get a rush from it and crave it if you don't get it.  It is something we all struggle at some point to give up and get out of our diets, and as hard as this can be to get up the motivation to make the change in the first place, sugar can still sneak its way into the foods that we buy and sabotage our efforts to get rid of it!

When we cut it out, we usually stop buying sweets, and stop adding sugar to our tea and coffee. But this isn't enough, as sugar can be hidden in so many products – here are the main ones to look out for.

  • Sauces including tomato sauce (ketchup) and BBQ sauce, pasta sauce and stir fry or simmer sauces

  • Salad dressings

  • Low-fat cereals

  • Low-fat yoghurt

  • Baked beans or spaghetti cans

  • Fruit juices

  • Yoghurt drinks

  • Packaged smoothies

  • Muesli bars

  • Protein bars and shakes

  • Bread

  • Crackers or chips/crisps

  • Dips

This is just a small list of the items you can buy with sugar added to them. Even "savoury" items that you wouldn't expect to have sugar contain high amounts! Sugar can easily sneak its way into your diet if you are consuming packaged foods and drinks, causing your sugar intake to increase dramatically and hit its daily limit before you know it.

Eating this much sugar not only becomes addictive, but can cause so many health problems like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and more. To try and avoid these sneaky sugars, here are some tips on how to rid them for good.

1. Read labels

Ingredient lists are there for a reason, to show what is in the product you are buying. So make sure you are reading the labels and nutrition content before deciding whether to buy or not. Always look at the carbohydrates line and how much sugar is present, as well as the fat and salt content while you’re at it. If the ingredient list shows sugar as one of the first 5 ingredients, then you know it contains enough to make an impact to your health.

2. Sugar has different names – learn them!

Some labels won't use the name "sugar" in the ingredient list, instead it can come under something else and not be very noticeable, tricking you into buying it. Processed foods can label the sugar content as corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, dextrose, glucose, maltodextrin, sucrose, raw sugar, sorbitol, and malt syrup, to name a few!

3. Be supermarket smart

Food stores have a technique to their layouts, and for a reason. They usually have fresh foods and meats and cold foods on the outsides, and then the packaged foods in the middle. Try to stick to the outside of the shop and don't venture into the middle where you don't need anything.

Some things need to be found in there however, like legumes, spices and healthy oils, but the majority of fresh foods are on the outer areas. And don't be tempted by the point-of-sale items on the counters, like the chocolate bars and soft drinks.

4. Ignore advertising like “fat-free” or “healthy”

If a product has to tell you it's healthy, the majority of the time it really isn't. Fat-free items also should be avoided as they take out the fat but have to add extra additives to make it taste good again, especially sugar. Stick to natural, unprocessed, untouched and unrefined products.

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