How to reduce your sugar intake in 3 easy steps

Reducing your sugar intake in 3 easy steps is easier than you might think.

Sugar is addictive and not particularly good for you. Food producers are experts at disguising sugar with other names so we are not always aware of how much we are eating.

There has been a 60% increase in diabetes in the last 10 years. Obesity, cancer, heart disease, alzheimer’s  and fatty liver disease are all increasing.

A reliance on high sugar and refined carbohydrates dramatically affects your health, concentration and performance. The World Health Organisation recommend a maximum of 25 grams a day of sugar (6 tsp), yet the average brit consumes 30-40 tsp per day – with detrimental health implications.

Beware of hidden sugars

There are other names for sugar. The most common ones found in processed food are fructose, dextrose, glucose and syrup.

To find out exactly how much sugar there is in a product, you have to look at the nutrition information table. You will usually find this on the side of the packet. Look for the figure next to carbohydrates of which sugars. As a rough guide 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams is a high sugar content and two grams per 100 grams is a low sugar content.

 

Picture of a food wrapper to help you know how to reduce your sugar intake in 3 easy steps
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Look for more than one type of sugar as often processed foods have two or more types of sugar, so they are higher than you might think in sugar and will have a higher affect on your blood sugar.

Even products labelled as ‘no added sugarare often loaded with very high amounts of more ‘natural’ sugars from things like dates, raisins, and grape juice concentrate, and whilst they may sound healthier, they still affect your blood sugar levels.

The effect of sugar on your blood sugar level

When you eat something, the ‘GI’ of the food determines it’s impact on your blood sugar level.The glycaemic index (GI) tells us whether a food raises blood glucose levels quickly, moderately or slowly. Different carbohydrates are digested and absorbed at different rates, and GI is a ranking of how quickly each carbohydrate-based food and drink makes blood sugar levels rise after eating them.

  • Different carbohydrates are digested and absorbed at different rates, and GI is a ranking of how quickly each carbohydrate-based food and drink makes blood sugar levels rise after eating them.
  • The GI index runs from 0 to 100 and usually uses pure glucose, which has a GI of around 100, as the reference. Slowly absorbed carbohydrates have a low GI rating (55 or below), and include most fruits and vegetables, unsweetened milk, nuts, pulses, some wholegrain cereals and bread.
  • Things like white bread, crisps, chips, mashed potato, ricehave a similar effect on your blood sugar level as sugar because they are high GI foods.

Come out come out sugars, wherever you are

I asked on Facebook what products people thought had a high amount of hidden sugar in them and the replies were well educated. Here are some of them:

  • Ready meals
  • Fruit juice
  • Children’s yoghurt and fromage frais
  • Tomato ketchup
  • Stir fry sauces
  • Cereals
  • Smoothies
  • Breakfast bars
  • Low fat products
  • Coke
  • Soup
  • Pizza

Next time you are thinking of buying something take a look at the sugar content, you might be surprised!

Are sugar-free foods any better for you?

The sugar-free products are interesting as the manufacturers obviously know people are on to them and  have come up with sugar-free versions of their products for people who don’t want to consume masses of sugar.

What’s frustrating is how we are led by supermarkets and manufacturers to buy what they want us to buy. Take this online grocery shopping. It is very useful that we can clearly see how much in money each product is by 100g compared to others. And of course price is important, but what about showing the sugar content per 100g? Enable us to make informed decisions without being investigators during our weekly shop.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but most sugary products come in brightly coloured packages. This is another sneaky trick that companies use to play on our minds as colour appeals and distracts. There is an incredible amount of psychology in colours and marketing!

Reduce your sugar intake with hypnosis

So you probably know that sugar is bad for you and want to cut down your sugar intake or maybe even want to go sugar-free I’m going to give you some insights on how you might do this.

A few years ago, with my hypnotherapist hat on, it occurred to me that sugar was a lot like other addictions of smoking, food, shopping and gambling. There was the thought process of wanting it and the physical process of craving something addictive. As I treat both these aspects when I help clients give up smoking or lose weight, I applied similar processes and developed a unique ‘go sugar-free’ programme.

I tested this programme myself first and didn’t eat processed sugar for a year. I felt amazing. My energy levels were stable, my sports performance was tip-top and I felt so good. Since then many clients have been through that programme with me face to face in Sussex and online. They have reduced or stopped their sugar intake.

To chat about how hypnosis can help you with your sugar intake, please book your discovery call here. 

If you just want to reduce your sugar intake yourself, here’s my three top pieces of advice.

1 – Don’t have sugar with sugar with sugar

When you crave sugar you want the sweet taste, the energy rush or maybe a brief escape. So you really don’t need to overdo it. If you are having a chocolate bar, or some sweets, you don’t need a sugary drink with it. Let the one ‘sugar fix’ settle in and see how you feel.

Savour the thing you are having, eat it in small bites or nibbles and take your time. Your taste buds are looking for it, they want it to taste, but this doesn’t mean having 2 or 3.

You can have the pleasure without the need to overdo it, getting high on sugar and beating your insulin up.

2 – Discover the sweetness of nature

Once to start to have less sugar, you will be amazed how sweet everything is! Nature really did give us enough sweetness in fruit. Now word of caution here as any form of natural sugar including maple syrup, honey, agave syrup, or fruit will impact our blood sugar levels. But when compared to sweets full of E numbers or chocolate and biscuits which also have lots of fat and preservatives, fruit is a better choice.

Rediscover your fruity side with exotic fruit salads, juicy berries and crunch  apples. Pineapple is so delicious too and anti-inflammatory.

If you are really serious and have gone sugar-free and you have a serious craving, a nice dried date can really sort that out!

3 – Keep a sugar diary to measure your sugar intake

Remember earlier I mentioned the thought process of wanting it and the physical process of craving something addictive? Well, many sugar cravings are driven by an emotional need.

What will often trigger eating a sugary snack is something that stirs you emotionally like a stressful situation which you ‘eat your way out of’ as a distraction. Or maybe an unpleasant encounter with someone. A really common one is tiredness. If you keep a diary for one week, noting what you want to eat or do eat and HOW YOU FELT when you ate it (or nearly ate it) you will definitely see some themes! Try to think of strategies to avoid those triggers which impact your sugar intake.

Get Your Free Sugar Free Recipes:

You can download 3 yummy sugar free recipes on the freebies page.

If you have any questions or comments please do get in touch in the blog comments or on Facebook.

This blog post was originally published in 2016 and has been refreshed in 2020.

Sugar cubes showing why you should think about reduce your sugar intake in 3 easy steps
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Honey

Honey Lansdowne is a successful Hypnotherapist in Worthing. She uses Hypnosis, NLP and 20 years coaching experience to help people overcome anxiety and depression in person and online.

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