We’ve all been there. That afternoon slump when you really need some sugar to get you fired up again. But that’s not the type of sugar low we’re talking about here. This is – you guessed it – about having a low-sugar diet that is both delicious and packed full of energy.
The thing about sugar is that it comes in many guises and can easily sneak into our foods unobserved. Apparently, our good friends over in Britain consume an average of 90 grams of sugar per day, or around 23 teaspoons. Now that’s a lot of sugary tea!
But – aside from the standard granulated white stuff – honey, fruit juice, fructose, glucose and corn syrup are all types of sugar with various levels of refinement. And, what’s more – all that is sugary is not sweet, and by that we mean that many non-sweet foods are actually full of hidden sugar. For example, 100 grams of tomato sauce contains, on average, 1 teaspoon of sugar. Now, would you really sprinkle that over your fries? Salad dressing and white pasta are two other culprits – both typically packing a lot of sugar that isn’t immediately apparent in the flavour.
From a positive perspective, low sugar is the target, not no sugar, and it’s relatively easy to achieve. They say knowledge is power, and that is definitely true in this case. Knowing what to look out for is half the battle, and the second half is choosing raw over refined. That means, at breakfast time, try swapping your sugary cereal out for plain options and adding fresh fruits – you’ll get the same energy hit, but it will be longer lasting and better for you. If toast is your morning fix, opt for grain or wholemeal bread and top with just a leetle bit less spread than normal, or try avocado and basil instead.
When it comes to lunch and dinner, the quickest way to cut back is to skip the sauces. Remember that tomato sauce example? Case in point. A squeeze of citrus over your salad is a fresh and tasty alternative to mayonnaise, and homemade sauce is generally lower in sugar than anything that comes in a jar.
Snacks and desserts are possibly the hardest to manage, as we so often crave something sweet. Aim for the 80/20 rule – 80 percent of your snacks should be healthy but allow yourself a treat for the remaining 20 percent.
The good news? Dark chocolate contains less sugar than its milk and white counterparts and will still satisfy that craving if nothing else will. (As well as releasing all kinds of feel-good endorphins!)