An excessive amount of sugar in the diet can lead to several health-related problems including obesity. While it is not advised to cut sugar from your diet completely, cutting down on intake can help shed the pounds along with exercise.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Wayne Starkey, Co-Founder of The Skinny Food Co explained how Britons can reduce their sugar intake.
He explained: “Research has shown that a surplus of sugar in the diet can increase the chances of getting diabetes. In addition, obesity is considered to be the strongest risk factor for diabetes, which can often be a domino effect of high sugar consumption.
“Some research also suggests that those who consume high refined carb diets including sugary foods and drinks are more susceptible to developing acne. Sugary foods quickly spike your blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to increased androgen secretion, inflammation and oil production which can contribute to the development of acne.
“In addition, foods and drinks that contain high amounts of sugar can quickly spike our blood sugar and insulin levels, resulting in an energy increase. However, this is often followed by a sharp drop in blood sugar, commonly referred to as a crash, leading to that drained feeling.
“The first step in cutting down your sugar consumption is being able to recognise low sugar products. Many products like pasta sauces, soups and ready meals contain much more sugar than you may think – effectively they are ‘hidden sugar’.
“When shopping, make sure to check these levels as you could be unknowingly consuming large amounts of sugar under the assumption that these items are good for you.
“The traffic light system has made it easier to recognise exactly how much sugar, salt, fat and saturates are in each serving. The colours green, amber and red will indicate if there is a healthy or unhealthy amount of each category per 100g contained inside.”
Foods and drinks packed with sugar tend to be referred to as empty calories because they provide very little nutrition for the body as well as completely lacking in protein, a nutrient essential for weight loss because it promotes feelings of fullness.
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This means you will often feel hungry after consuming junk food which will lead to overeating and weight gain.
The Skinny Food Co products provide healthier alternatives for those with food intolerances, dietary restrictions or for those who simply wish to cut down on their sugar consumption.
The range includes sugar-free syrups as well as sauces.
Wayne went on: “In terms of the amount of sugar in your food, having a green rating will mean that there is 5g or under per 100g of that specific product. Amber indicates an amount of sugar between 5g and 22.5g per 100g of product, and red tells you that there is more than 22.5g of sugar per 100g of that product.
“Sugar in drinks run on the same traffic light system, but their guidelines are set to different proportions. For example, a green rating tells the consumer that per 150ml of their drink there are under 2.5g of sugar. Amber indicates a sugar level between 2.5g and 11.25g per 150ml and Red will show you that there is over 11.25g of sugar per 150ml of that drink product.
“This is an effective system for easily spotting sugar levels, whether it is high or low, but you have to remember the quantifying amounts are very small. For example, in food, 100g only amounts to the size of a medium tomato or banana. So, when buying meals that are 300g or 400g in total, even a green traffic light rating could be much more than originally thought.”
The NHS recommends that adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day, equivalent to seven sugar cubes.
Free sugars are those added to food or drinks such as sweets, cakes, biscuits and chocolate.
There are many alternative foods on the market that can help to satisfy those with a sweet tooth as well as being significantly lower in sugar compared to other products.
Wayne added: “The Skinny Food Co’s sugar-free syrups and sauces are much lower in calories and sugar than many branded jams, syrups and condiments.
“For example, if you look at the sugar contents of 100g of Lyle’s Golden Syrup, you’re met with a whopping 80.5g of sugar. Whereas, the Skinny Food Co’s Zero Calorie Golden Syrup has 0.1g per 100g.
“Likewise, a jar of Nutella has 56.3g of sugar per 100ml, but our Low Sugar Hazelnut Spread has only 4.3g per 100ml. It is also tasty, palm oil free, diabetic-friendly and low in calories.”
The Groovy Food Company is also another great choice for those who want to cut back on their sugar intake.
The natural Organic Agave Chocolate Sauces can be added onto foods and are completely plant-based.
The Organic Coconut Sugar can also be used as a direct swap to refined sugar in both sweet and savoury dishes.
Honey is also a great option to add onto things like porridge and fruit because sugars in it are naturally occurring, although should still be eaten in moderation.