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A Life Less Sugar – The effects of sugar on our health and some tips on how to reduce it

Sugar, sugar, sugar. We have a love affair with the stuff, but cutting down can be a real challenge.

Most of us know that too much sugar is bad for us, and not just for our teeth. Excess sugar gets turned into fat around the gut, stopping the liver from functioning properly and potentially causing all sorts of unpleasant things, from type two diabetes to heart attack.

The NHS recently revised down the maximum amount of calories adults should be getting from added sugar. It used to be 10%, now it’s 5%. That equates to roughly 30g of sugar a day or seven teaspoons, not much when you consider a regular can of Coke has 39g of sugar. And it is less for children.

Unfortunately most of us in Britain eat far more than that, especially youngsters between the ages of 11-18.

But the good news is that awareness of sugar is increasing, and nowadays there are many guides and diets to help you reduce sugar in your life.

Here are a few tips on how:

1 – Replace sugar with natural alternatives. At the Natural Store we stock some great natural sugar alternatives that can be swapped like for like.

One is Natvia, a natural sweetener combining stevia and erythritol. It tastes like sugar but has almost no calories and can be used as a straight swap. We stock 80x2g (sticks) box, 40x2g box, 200g canister and a 200 tablet tin.

Another one is Zylosweet by Higher Nature. Zylosweet uses 100% xylitol, a natural sugar alternative which has 40% fewer calories than sugar. It is also suggested to help prevent tooth decay by neutralising plaque acidity on teeth and repairing tooth enamel. Comes in a 500g jar.

Another xylitol alternative is Total Sweet. The xylitol in this comes from sustainably sourced European birch and beech wood, and is GMO free. We stock two sizes, 225g and 1kg.

2 – Use more nutritious alternatives. Fruit sweeteners like date syrup (Meridian) or Sweet Freedom (a fruit and carob concentrate) are good alternatives but it is still worth checking the labels to see how many calories are in each serving.

3 – Cut out added sugars completely. There are many diets nowadays that can help you cut out added sugars entirely, such as the paleo diet and raw food diet. But they can be a bit strict. If you don’t want to follow a particular diet, a few good things to try are:

When you get that sugar craving eat healthy fats instead such as nuts and coconut oil. These will help to make you feel full.

Eat fruit such as bananas and apples as snacks. Try bars with no added sugar or raw chocolate.

After meals, wait 20 minutes before eating the next portion or dessert. The body takes a bit of time to register the food it has eaten. Waiting 20 minutes will help you feel full and eat smaller portions.

Always read food labels and learn about the different names for sugar.

NOTE: not all our stores have these products in stock, but they can almost certainly order them for you. Please call in advance if unsure.

 

For inspiration read here about how one family quit sugar for a year.

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