To lose weight, some slimmers will try to achieve their goals by embarking on a diet plan. Others will add more exercise into their diet and some will try cutting out certain food groups. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Deborah Lee, Dr Fox Online, explained why Britons should try to cut out high levels of sugar in their diet.
She said: “t’s really quite simple. When you eat food containing sugar, your body converts this into fat. I can’t find any food with a zero sugar content – even lettuce contains sugar! – which is just as well as our bodies need sugar to survive.
“Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. It’s found naturally in virtually all foods, but can also be sprinkled, shaken, and stirred into anything stacked on your plate. However, sugar is often hidden in foods, such as breakfast cereals, pasta sauces, yoghurt, and ketchup.
“It’s not always obvious that food contains large amounts of sugar because, on the product label, sugar can be itemised as any one of the following – dextrose, fructose, sucrose, glucose, maltose, corn syrup, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, treacle, nectar, agave syrup, coconut sugar, fruit juice concentrate – and many more. Most of us are probably unaware how much sugar we are eating.
“The problem is that we all love sugar. There’s nothing like that sweet, warming sensation of deliciousness you get from tucking into a chocolate brownie, an ice-cream sundae, or a fresh cream doughnut. But too much sugar has been proven time and time again to be bad news for health.
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“Eating too much sugar is a major cause of obesity, which poses serious health risks. 30,000 people die in the UK every year due to obesity.
“Being overweight or obese significantly increases your risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes), type-diabetes, cancer, and dementia. Losing weight and keeping it off is the best way of staying in good health. Reducing your sugar intake is a very good way to do this. There are some easy, practical ways you can make changes to your diet and cut the sugar content.”
When making a change, slimmers should look at food labels to see how much sugar a food contains.
The expert said: “Read the labels in shops and choose low-sugar products. Sugar goes by many different names such as – honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, treacle, nectar, agave syrup, coconut sugar, dextrose, fructose, sucrose, glucose, maltose, corn syrup, or fruit juice concentrate and many more. Anything which ends in ‘ose’ is likely to be sugar. Always read the label.”
To help cut sugar out, you can also stop adding it into tea and coffee as well as stop putting it on top of things like cereal and fruit.
Home cooked meals are also a great option to avoid added sugar as you can control exactly what goes into the food.
Dr Deborah added: “Increase the amount of fibre in your diet. This helps you feel fuller for longer and is good for you as it also lowers cholesterol. Fibre-rich foods include beans, broccoli, avocado, whole grains, potato skins, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and figs.”
When going sugar-free, or cutting down, it must be done slowly to avoid bad side effects like withdrawal.
For those who don’t want to cut sugar out completely, the expert has recommended some healthier swaps you can try.
The expert continued: “Choose fresh fruit during the day as a snack, or as a dessert, such as apples, pears, mango, melon, grapes, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries, and enjoy natural sugars. Eat slowly and mindfully and savour the fresh flavours and textures.”
Natural sweeteners can also be a great option and things like Stevia are 200-300 times sweeter than sugar.
Dr Deborah said: “If you need to have a chocolate fix, eat a few squares of dark chocolate containing 70 percent cocoa solids. A few squares a day can have health benefits – but don’t overdo it.”