Weight loss is often associated with intense diets but cutting out sugar could be the key to a healthy weight loss. The NHS advises that added sugars, such as table sugar, honey and syrups should not make up more than 5 percent of the energy you get from food and drink each day. This equates to around 30g a day for anyone over the age of 11.
Regularly indulging in foods high in added sugars can cause you to gain excess body fat very quickly which is often very hard to lose.
Added sugar is referred to as a source of empty calories as it offers little in terms of nutrition and increases the risk of chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes.
The NHS website explains how breakfast cereals are usually branded to be healthy but are very high in sugar.
They say: “Swapping a bowl of sugary breakfast cereal for plain cereal could cut out 70g of sugar (up to 22 sugar cubes) from your diet over a week.
Porridge oats are cheap and contain vitamins, minerals and fibre. Make porridge with semi-skimmed, 1% or skimmed milk, or water.
If you usually add sugar to your porridge, try adding a few chopped dried apricots or a sliced or mashed banana instead. Or you could try our apple-pie porridge recipe.
For a more gradual approach, you could eat sugary cereals and plain cereals on alternate days, or mix both in the same bowl.
If you add sugar to your cereal, you could try adding less. Or you could eat a smaller portion and add some chopped fruit, such as a pear or banana, which is an easy way of getting some of your 5 A Day.
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Sugar is also very present in foods that we don’t consider to be sweet such as soups, sauces and ready meals.
A third of an average-sized jar of pasta sauce (roughly 150g) can contain more than 13g of sugar, including added sugar.
This is the equivalent of around three teaspoons of sugar.
It is well known that eating sugary foods significantly raises your blood sugar levels which can cause serious harm to your body, including weight gain.
Prolonged elevated blood sugar leads to weight gain because it promotes insulin resistance.
Healthline says: “Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that moves sugar from your blood into cells, where it can be used for energy.
“Insulin resistance is when your cells stop responded properly to insulin, which leads to elevated sugar and insulin levels.”
Foods and beverages that are packed with added sugar, such as cakes, ice cream and fizzy drinks tend to be low in or completely lacking in protein, a nutrient essential for blood sugar control that promotes feelings of fullness.
This means that you will often feel hungry after consuming junk food which will lead to overeating and weight gain.
It isn’t advised to completely cut this food group out of your diet if you’re looking for long-term weight loss but cutting down gradually will be beneficial.
The NHS recommends opting for healthier snack options without added sugar including fruit, unsalted nuts, unsalted rice cakes and plain popcorn.
The website says: “If you’re not ready to give up your favourite flavours, you could start by having less. Instead of 2 biscuits in 1 sitting, try having 1. If your snack has 2 bars, have 1 and share the other, or save it for another day.”
Dried fruit like raisins, dates and apricots are high in sugar and although this is natural it is recommended to keep these types of snacks to a minimum.
One of the worst types of beverages you can drink when on a weight loss journey is fizzy drinks.
A 500ml bottle of cola contains the equivalent of 17 cubes of sugar.
There are now sugar free alternatives on the market or try swapping this for squash which has less sugar in it.
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