From sausages and ham to tortilla chips and tomato sauce, the sweet stuff is everywhere. How can we break our bond with sugar and get healthier in the long term?
Sugar isn’t good for you.
OK, let’s develop that a little further. It is well documented that regulating our sugar intake is the key to tackling obesity. But while chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies, for example, come with an obvious warning sign of their indulgent contents, there is less awareness of just how much added sugar there is in our everyday diet.
A year of no sugar
Here we can turn to the inspiring story of Eve Schaub. Back in 2011 Eve and family went sugar free for a year.
Together they battled the ‘secret world of sugar’. That is, the varieties of everyday products that, unbeknown to us, contain added sugar. Like bread, bacon, crackers or chopped tin vegetables. The family recorded better digestion, higher energy levels and better overall wellbeing among the direct health benefits they felt.
We can all take a leaf out of Eve’s book (literally, she’s written a book: Year of No Sugar). Here are just some of the tips I took away:
- Cut out all refined sugars from your diet – including white, brown and cane sugar, fructose, molasses and honey. Palettes change with time, and you’re likely to need a sugar hit less and less.
- Check the label – look for added sugar among the ingredients (nutritional information also includes naturally occurring sugars).
- Somewhat worryingly, sugar can have many different names; don’t just look for the magic word ‘sugar’.
- In restaurants, ask for a breakdown of what goes into menu items before ordering.
- Get creative – make up your own sugar-free bread, cakes, and other recipes.
You don’t have to do it all on your own – there are other inspirational stories of going sugar free, as well as great tips and sugar-free recipes online. Also check out sites and articles like:
- I Quit Sugar
- The Healthy Apple
- The Telegraph’s ‘How to kick the sugar habit’
- Davina McCall’s ‘How to be sugar free’
A sugar-free challenge accepted
Encouraged by the Schaubs, I’ve now been (mostly) sugar free for the past four weeks. After the first couple of weeks, I became aware that my energy levels were holding up throughout the day in a way they hadn’t previously. I didn’t get the munchies – either for savoury or sweet food – between meals. Yes, I lost a bit of weight, too.
And if I can go sugar free, then so can you.