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Sugar- Breaking The Habit

John Yudkin's book "Pure, White and Deadly" was first published in1972, recommending a low sugar diet but low fat diets rather than low sugar diets were recommended at that time (with possible pressure from the sugar lobby) Interestingly, an obesity epidemic started soon after that, followed by a diabetes epidemic which is where we find ourselves in 2016.

Lots of supposedly healthy low fat foods contain added sugar to improve their taste and palatability. Hidden sugar is a big problem. It's all very well cutting out the obvious- cakes and sweets etc but understanding where else the sugar in your diet may be coming from is not quite as easy.

Only 5% of our calorie intake per day should be from added sugar (between 5-8 teaspoons) One can of soft drink has, on average, 7 teaspoons of sugar and, rather alarmingly, the average sugar intake in the UK is 140 teaspoons per week!

So, what can we do? A good start is to look carefully at food labels- look for less than 5g per 100g of carbs as sugars. The higher up things ending in "-ose" are in the ingredients list, the more sugar there is in the product. The traffic light system used by most supermarkets now is helpful.

Other top tips for reducing your sugar intake include:-

• Adding protein to every meal and snack- this slows down release of sugars into the bloodstream, keeping your blood sugar levels constant and avoiding the sugar highs (that keep you addicted to the stuff) and lows (that post meal energy slump that has you reaching for the chocolate!)

• Choosing whole foods as much as possible- the closer to it's natural form a food is then the less processed sugar it will contain

• Getting enough sleep- it's tempting to boost your energy with sugar when you're tired.

• Don't have sugary snacks to hand- have healthy options available to you.

And remember: Sugar is addictive- in animal trials, rats chose sugar over cocaine, even the ones addicted to cocaine!

So it may take a while to get used to less sugar in your diet but oh so worth it- weight loss, clearer skin and higher energy levels to name but a few of the benefits. Your body will thank you in the long run!

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