If you’re visiting this page, it’s likely you want to reduce sugar in your own diet. Perhaps you’ve gained weight, are experiencing health issues related to sugar intake or are worried about the implications of continuing your chocolate and cakes habit! It’s ok, we can help.
Firstly, we can give you an allergy test (we use kinesiology which is painless, non-invasive and gives instant results). That way you’ll know whether or not your current sugar intake is impacting your health. As part of your allergy therapy consultation, we’ll come up with a balanced, nutritional plan designed uniquely for YOU and your results. So you’ll know exactly what to eat. If you need help sticking to the recommendations, we’ve got you covered with hypnotherapy, NLP and EFT – plus a host of other complementary ideas to keep you on track and primed for success.
Sound like a plan? Contact us now to book your first appointment – email or call is on 07971 509997.
Now, on with the article…
I recently shared an article on social media where experts from Public Health England (PHE) had carried out a National Diet and Nutrition Survey. They discovered that children in the UK exceed the maximum recommended sugar intake for an 18-year-old by the time they are 10.
This infographic highlights how easy it is for children and adults to exceed the recommended daily amount of sugar, just by consuming one soft drink:
Some of the benefits of cutting out sugar include
- 1- You’re more likely to feel healthy! Sugar can be taxing on blood sugar levels and leave you feeling energetic one minute and exhausted the next. By reducing refined sugar in your diet, your blood sugar will balance, giving you more sustained energy levels.
- 2- You’ll have room for more healthy stuff. If you’re filled up on sugary snacks you often can’t face a proper meal. By reducing the amount of sugar you eat, you may find you look forward to a decent meal.
- 3- You’ll be healthier.Excessive amounts of sugar can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Cancer Research UK tell us that reducing your sugar intake helps you avoid extra weight gain and keeping a healthy weight cuts the risk of 13 types of cancer. In fact, Cancer Research feel so strongly about the negative impact of sugar they’re encouraging people to join in with #SugarFreeFebruary
- 4- You’ll improve your willpower. Sugar is addictive, so reducing the amount you eat will develop your willpower. Being able to outwit your cravings, nearly always feels good in the end!
- 5- Better dental health. We all know that eating excessive amounts of sugar can create an acidic environment in the mouth that can attack teeth. Reducing refined sugar helps reduce the risk of dental problems.
- 6- Better sleep. You remember we talked about blood sugar levels? And we’ve all seen children bouncing off the walls after eating too much sugar. Well, if you’re eating excessive amounts of sugar these can fluctuate during your sleep as well, meaning you wake in the night, can’t get to sleep or wake in the morning feeling tired.
- 7- You’ll enjoy foods more. One of the things I noticed when I stopped eating refined sugar was that ‘normal’ foods began to taste so much better. Now I get a total taste explosion when I eat something like fresh pineapple or a raw carrot – I can taste far better than I used to and enjoy food so much more!
- 8- Better mental health. It’s not just your body that will benefit. Research has shown that excessive amounts of sugar can effect our mental health too with anxiety or depression. Reducing sugar intake can even improve your memory.
With talk of a ‘pudding tax’ and the PHE working with the food industry to cut 20% of sugar from the foods children consume most by next year, some measures are in place to tackle this. But what can we do at home? Here are some ideas:
Decide on your goals
If, after reading articles about the benefits of cutting out sugar, or if you’re worried about your family’s sugar intake and you’ve decided to take action, you need to plan your steps. Work out what you want to achieve and how you might do it, then it’s time to …
Most people balk about being told what to do if they don’t understand why. Everyone in the family will want to understand the benefits to eating less sugar, they might want to help make decisions regarding compromises and they may want to be actively involved with deciding on alternatives. Engage your children with a discussion and let them ask questions so they feel part of the decision making process.
Once you’ve had your discussion, you can come up with an acceptable amount of sugar you will eat. It might be that you restrict sugary snacks to one or two nights a week. It may be that you have one small item each day. Decide on what works for you as a family and make sure everyone knows what is expected of them. Life is about balance and by restricting, but not banning altogether, you’re more likely to gain positive results.
Lead by example
This is where your secret stash of chocolate that you eat after the kids are in bed has to go! And it’s no good saying one thing and doing another or having one set of rules for children and another set for you. Children will pick up on it if you’re not acting with integrity, so sort yourself out before tackling this issue with your children. And make sure you’re modelling a healthy, balanced approach. It might mean you need to…
If you have bars of chocolate, sugary drinks and sweets readily available, it’s going to be very hard for some children and adults to say no to them. Help them resist temptation by making it easier to reach for healthier alternatives and keeping sugary snacks out of the way. You might even decide to not buy any more once everything has been used up.
Learn to say no
Often we blame the government, schools, food manufacturers and advertising agencies, but parents and carers also have a big part to play. The phrases ‘tough love’ or ‘being cruel to be kind’ come to mind. And yes, sometimes you have to stand firm and say no. Remember that sugar can be addictive, so it’s especially important to support each other in the early days when you / your children might be dealing with the effects of withdrawl.
Get in the kitchen
It’s often easier to encourage children to eat healthier foods if they are involved with food preparation. They could choose healthy recipes to try, go shopping with you at a Pick your Own farm, you could grow simple foods like radishes or strawberries in pots and invite children into the kitchen to cook with you.
Get everyone on board
That includes well meaning grandparents, child minders, baby sitters and friends and relatives. Everyone needs to be onboard with what you decide is acceptable and in agreement that they will support your decision. Comments to your child such as “Yes you can have an energy drink if you don’t tell Mummy/Daddy” has to be challenged!
Question the ‘norm’
I’m not suggesting the post war days or a life of deprivation, but I can’t help noticing changes in what’s ‘normal’ for this generation and the last. It’s not unusual for children to be giving a great big container of sweets as a present, for schools to dish them out as ‘rewards’ or for endless sugary things to be given out at Halloween. Decide on acceptable limits for your family and hold such items back to be handed out occasionally.
Eat proper meals
Many people fill up on sugary snacks because they don’t eat proper meals. If you fill up on protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and a wide range of vegetables, your body will be nutritionally satisfied and won’t keep giving you hunger signals. If you pick at empty calories, you end up wanting more and can get locked in a vicious circle. As a family, work out some favourite, healthy meals that you can enjoy each week.
Celebrate your success
You could put the money you would normally spend on sugary foods to one side and choose a family treat such as a night at the cinema or a day trip. With the average family spending over £100 per year on chocolate alone (not to mention sweets, sugary drinks, ice creams, other confectionery and other sugar products), there are some serious savings to be had – to your teeth, your waistline and your bank balance!
What about you – what are your tips for reducing refined sugar in your diet?