Sugar Free or Not Sugar Free? That is the question.

Sugar free, surely? Is the answer.

So I did sugar free September along with a lovely support group of friends on a Facebook group.

I’m lucky enough to have been brought up with a fairly low sugar diet – thank you hippy parents – but I’ve still learnt a lot.

So this is meant to be helpful post – tips to help change habits and a few facts that you may not know.

Some basic facts:

Recommended Daily Amounts of sugar:

🍭Adults and children over 11years- 30g (7 teaspoons)

🍭Children aged 7-10 years – 24g (6 teaspoons)

🍭Children aged 4-6 years – 19g (5 teaspoons)

There are no current guidelines for children under 4 years.

Just one can of Coca Cola is approximately 39g, one snickers bar is 24g and one pouch of Capri sun is 19g.

To help when looking at labels in food look for ‘carbohydrates (of which sugars)’ to give you an idea of how much you’re going to be consuming. As a guideline anything over 22.5g of sugars per 100g is too high!

Don’t forget to check bread, cereal, yogurt and baked beans – foods we don’t always think of when it comes to sugar.

Also be aware that the sugars in fruit juice count too!

Sugar gives us energy but without nutrients so we get a high level of energy followed by a crash which is when we go looking for more food to satisfy our appetite.

So if we’re going to get practical then let’s look at how to make swaps and changes…

🌟Cereal – Lidl sell ‘Mini Wheats’ which are cheap and sugar free:

🌟Also, their cheapest wholemeal bread is sugar free too! Hurray!

🌟 Heinz do ‘no added sugar’ beans which does have sweetener but is still considerably better than normal beans.

🌟Peanut butter – look for sugar free varieties like Whole Earth or Meridian. In addition to which Whole Earth only uses sustainable palm oil and Meridian contains no palm oil. Bonus!

🌟If you still want the occasional sweet ‘treat’ (although getting away from calling it a ‘treat’ could be helpful!) then try making date and nut based protein balls which can be as simple or complex as you wish. Here’s a link to variety of recipes –

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/healthy/g4892/protein-ball-recipes/

🌟 But here’s a life saver and a little gem given to me by a friend – a recipe for vegan sugar free chocolate!

🍫Half a cup of coconut oil – melt in pan.

🍫Remove from heat and stir in 4 tablespoons of maple syrup and half a cup of cocoa powder.

🍫Pour into ice cube moulds and freeze for 20 minutes.

Easy peasy! And you can add in whatever you like to jazz them up – mint essence, orange zest, nuts etc.

🍸 So what about alcohol? 🍸

Spirits seem to be the best option as they are usually sugar free so it’s the mixer that you need to be careful with – slimline tonics are abundant and are either reduced in sugar or use a sweetener instead.

There is so much more to talk about when it comes to sugar.

I’ve found a really interesting article on ‘healthy sugars’ which are marketed as a better alternative but in some ways can be worse…

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-healthy-sugars-that-can-kill-you

Good luck if you intend to cut down. After watching my six year old sob in the dentists chair whilst she had to have a filling – we are definitely looking more carefully at what we consume as a family.

Ultimately it’s about changing our palettes. To try to stop the craving for the need for something sweet in the first place.

I’d love to hear your opinions and tips!

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