reducing sugar intake

Cutting Out Sugar to Tackle Obesity

The effects of sugar have been much reported of late, and with a new initiative from Brighton and Hove aiming to tackle obesity in the city through cutting down on sugar, it’s becoming an increasingly important issue. Cutting out sugar from our diets is an effective way of not only reducing obesity, but also saving our teeth, especially those of children. So what can we do to reduce the amount of sugar in our diet?

The Sugar Smart City Initiative

Brighton and Hove’s Sugar Smart City Initiative was launched to deal with the city’s growing obesity problem, particularly in children, of whom 1 in 4 will be classed as obese before they leave primary school. This worrying statistic can be put down in part to sugar consumption, with many consuming more than the recommended limit of 30g per day – the equivalent of seven sugar cubes.

The initiative asks for local businesses to play their part by introducing a 10p levy on all sugary drinks, with the money going to Sustain, a charity dedicated to food and health education. The scheme has been backed by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver, whose own school dinners campaign has been used to try and cut down on the obesity levels of children. It’s important that schools also get behind this campaign to encourage healthier eating outside of the home.

How you can cut down on sugar

Cutting down on sugar might sound easier than it is, as you may not think that you consume as much sugar as you do. However, much of our food contains hidden sugars which you may not expect, particularly in processed foods. Taking a look at the sugar content of products before you buy is a good way to get into the habit of cutting out excess sugar. Other things you can do include:

  • Cutting down on sugary drinks – these are the biggest culprits of added sugar, and even some fruit juices have sugar added in. Swap to water and healthy juices instead.
  • Change your breakfast habits – instead of munching on sweet breakfast cereals, why not have porridge flavoured with natural sweeteners such as honey or even cinnamon, or opt for protein-packed eggs and omega-3 rich salmon.
  • Redesign your snack cupboard – typical snacks such as chocolate bars, pastries, biscuits, sweets, etc all contain high amounts of sugar. Fruit and vegetable crudités make great snacks, whilst nuts and wholegrain snacks also make healthier alternatives.
  • Make more meals from scratch – the sauces and packets you buy are often packed with unnecessary sugar. You can make your own delicious homemade sauces from scratch with a few simple ingredients, and make them in batches to freeze them for convenience.

If you’re interested in finding out more about cutting out sugar from your diet, the NHS’s Change4Life website has plenty of information on your recommended daily sugar intake, and ways in which you can reduce it in your diet.