Cancer research are running their Sugar Free February campaign.
It’s a fantastic opportunity to look at how much sugar you consume (the current recommendation for an adult is no more than 7 cubes of sugar per day) and to reduce it. Cancer Research recommend cutting out added sugar in food and drinks, but you can make it as simple or challenging as you like!
While you might have some initial withdrawal symptoms, by the end of the month you’ll be reaping rewards, such as:
- Increased energy
- Improved health (reducing sugar in your diet helps avoid extra weight gain and keeping a healthy weight cuts the risk of 13 types of cancer)
- Increased willpower (sugar can be addictive and extremely hard to give up)
- You’ll hopefully have learned new things (label reading anyone?!)
- and found some new favourite meals and recipes
If you want to know more about the benefits of reducing sugar, check out this post where I list eight compelling reasons to ditch the white stuff!
Which foods contain added sugar?
Some foods are obviously sugar laden, such as fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolates and deserts. But many foods have hidden sugars too – so February is your month for becoming a detective! For example, did you know that many savoury foods, such as tomato ketchup, baked beans, some tinned soups and most ready meals contain sugar?
So what CAN I eat?
Giving up sugar can be daunting, but there are many things you can do to reduce the amount you are eating. Here are some easy tips:
Learn to read labels:
Here are some foods labels I picked at random – pasta sauce, pizza and tomato ketchup
Once you know what is in a food, you can decide whether or not you choose to eat it. With ingredients labels, it’s worth noting that generally the ingredients are in order of how much of each ingredient is in the food – so in the tomato ketchup label, you can see sugar is the second ingredient. Whereas in the pizza label, sugar is further down the list, so it’s likely to contain a bit less.
Learn about different sugars
When you think of sugar, do you think of the white granulated stuff? There are many other types of sugar and if you want to take your research further, let’s go back to the pizza label. It’s worth keeping in mind that anything ending in ‘ose’ on an ingredients list is usually sugar derived. So in the pizza, not only do we have sugar, but we have dextrose and glucose syrup. ‘Hiding sugar’ in these ways can be a way that catches you out! So keep a look out for sucrose, galactose and maltose too, if you want to really get into reducing sugars. While there are naturally occurring sugars too – fructose from fruit and lactose in milk, don’t get too hung up at this stage, just do the best you can.
Get moral support and accountability
It’s lonely cutting out some of your favourite foods by yourself, so get your family on board. Everyone will benefit from eating more healthily and moods and sleep will (eventually!) improve. Here are 11 ways to get the whole family on board. If you can’t get support from family and friends, that’s where we come in! I gave up eating refined sugar over 20 years ago and I’ve honestly not looked back. (well not often anyway!). We can help you with allergy testing to see how sugar might be affecting you (plus we’ll give you advice on what you can eat to maintain a healthy, balanced diet), along with hypnotherapy and NLP to give you the right mindset for success, along with EFT when the cravings strike back!
If you want public accountability, Cancer Research invite you to sign up to their challenge and raise money through sponsorship – what a great way to keep yourself on track!
Plan for success
Before you start giving up sugar, take an honest look at where you might fail. Is it with your cake and coffee habit at 11am or so you get an energy slump at 2pm and reach for the chocolate bar? Or is it in the evening when the kids are in bed and you’re in need of a treat? By planning for this eventuality you can take steps towards success. You might need to find an alternative for your morning cake, afternoon chocolate or evening snacks. The internet is awash with recipes and there are a huge number of recipe books available in the shops and at your local library. You could even go to a baking class before your challenge to get ideas or join a Facebook group.
Celebrate your progress
It’s important to celebrate your success, no matter how small. If you’ve cut out chocolate bars and snacks you’ll be likely to save money (the average family spends £100 per year on chocolate alone!), so spend it on something meaningful – if you’re doing this challenge with your family it might be a movie night or visit to the beach or, if you’re doing this challenge alone, a massage or experience you’ve always wanted. Just don’t spend the money on junk food and beer to undo all your hard work! And remember, I’m here to high five you – let me know when you’re doing on Twitter, you’ll find me here.
Need help giving up sugar?
We offer allergy testing in the Forest of Dean, so we can discover how sugar is affecting you. Once you know for sure, we’ll devise an eating plan along with hypnotherapy and NLP to get you in the right mindset for success! Contact us today on 07971 509997 or fill in our contact form.