For years we’ve been told it's fat we need to worry about. We now know that hidden sugar poses a huge threat to our health.
I’ve always been a big believer in the 80/20 rule. Eat healthily most of the time and allow yourself the flex and freedom to indulge. Now and then it’s good for our soul to have a chunk of chocolate cake. Or a stack of biscuits to dunk in our tea. Or *insert name of favourite treat here*. I have a client who’s been having a super-sized Twix everyday for the past 5 years. We agreed that was taking the 80/20 rule a bit far and we've successfully weaned her off.
When we consciously choose to indulge. I say go for it. Enjoy every delicious, divine morsel. Just don’t do it too often.
What concerns me is hidden sugar.
The stuff that’s hiding in seemingly healthy foods. The worst offenders in my book are breakfast cereals, ‘healthy’ snack bars and anything labelled ‘low fat’. Too much sugar seriously messes up our appetite, our hormones and our weight. NHS guidelines say we need to consume no more than 30 grams of sugar a day. Or 7 teaspoons. It’s soooo easy to get to 7 teaspoons without realising it when the average shop-bought muesli bar has 3 teaspoons of the stuff.
This week I’ve been running workshops on how to hunt out hidden sugars and make smart swaps. That's me below in workshop mode....
My number 1 rule to minimise your intake of sneaky hidden sugars is this: READ LABELS
- Look for products with 3-6g of sugar per 100g (or 100ml).
- On the label it’s written as ‘carbohydrates (of which sugars)’.
- The exception is dairy, where the first 4.7g of sugar per 100g is what naturally occurs in lactose. Anything above 4.7g is added sugar.
Yep I know it will take longer to get round the supermarket…..just start off reading the labels on the things you’re buying for brekkie and go from there.
Here are 5 ways to get your day off to a healthy, low-sugar start
1. Swap sugar-laden breakfast cereals for:
- Porridge: I make mine with gluten free oats, rice milk and cinnamon. A naturally sweet combo.
- Home-made granola: I make a batch every few weeks. Honestly it takes 5 minutes to make, 25 minutes in the oven and it will keep in a kilner jar for a fortnight. Recipe coming soon!
- Some low-sugar, ready-made options are Weetabix, Oatibix and Shredded Wheat.
2. Check how much sugar is in your low-fat or flavoured yogurt. You might be (unpleasantly) surprised.
- Opt for natural, full-fat yogurt. Use a teeny drizzle of a natural sweetener like honey if you need to. I found that as I got used to eating less sweet stuff, I didn’t need the honey anymore. Take it steady and let your taste buds gradually adapt.
3. Keep your toast toppings savoury.
- Butter, Marmite, unsweetened peanut butter, coconut oil, eggs, avocado……there are loads of savoury options to replace the jam, marmalade and chocolate spread.
4. For smoothie or juice fans, keep the ratio 50/50 veggies to fruit.
- My favourite blend is beetroot, spinach, blueberries and half a banana.
5. Protein rocks.
- Bacon & eggs. Avo & eggs. Avo & spinach. Eggs & mushrooms. You get the picture. Protein for breakfast keeps you feeling full for longer and gets your day off to a brilliant start.
Thanks for reading. Stay well. Be glorious x
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