6 ways to cut down your sugar intake

It's time to kick that love/hate relationship with sugar once and for all.

You love the delicious taste and immediate energy kick you receive from an afternoon sugary snack (hello, vending machine Kit-Kat), yet you hate the sinking feeling of the post-sugar rush comedown and those extra sugar-related kilos you can’t seem to shake.

While the bad parts of sugar certainly outweigh the good, that isn’t exactly stopping Australians from consuming more than double of their recommended daily sugar allowance ⁠— that’s 14 teaspoons instead of six!

The scariest part? If Australians continue to head down the sugar spiral, the national risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity is bound to increase. Yikes!

Quitting sugar altogether might seem like the best idea but it isn’t exactly a realistic one. Instead, here are six ways to cut down your sugar intake, without removing the food group altogether.

1. Eat full-fat foods

Be it fat-free yoghurt or ‘light’ cheese, low-fat options of your favourite foods are everywhere! If you’ve read, or been told, that fat is a big no-no, it may feel natural to reach for these alternatives, rather than full fat versions ⁠— especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

Truth be told, these low-fat versions of your favourite foods often contain more sugar than their full-fat counterparts. As well as altering the oils used for producing low-fat foods, manufacturers often have to increase the amount of sugar in their low-fat products in order to maintain a delicious taste and texture.

These hidden sugars can actually lead to blood sugar swings and cravings, making it more difficult to control your overall calorie intake. As strange as it may feel, you’re actually better off reaching for full-fat versions of foods.

Sticking with full-fat cheeses and yoghurts can actually help to decrease your sugar intake.

(Source: Getty Images)

2. Replace your sugary afternoon snacks

As energy levels start to drop by the mid-afternoon, the temptation to pay the office vending machine a visit increases. Snacking on a small chocolate bar or drinking a can of zero-fat soft drink might immediately spike your energy levels, but these high-caloric, high-sugar and low-nutrient snacks are doing you much more harm than good.

Instead, replace your afternoon sugary snack for a healthier alternative. A small handful of nuts or a piece of fruit is a great idea, but if you’re looking for a more filling option, Glucerna Triple Care is a great go-to. The milkshake-style drink helps to manage your body’s glucose response, meaning you can maintain a more constant blood sugar level and feel energised for longer.

The best bit? With a sweet vanilla flavour, Glucerna Triple Care will help satisfy your sweet tooth. Plus, the drink has a healthy blend of fatty acids, meaning it’s great for your cardiovascular health, too.

3. Swap out takeaway meals for home-cooked ones

There’s nothing more convenient than a takeaway lunch ⁠— especially when you’re on the go ⁠— but these meals could be spiking your sugar intake considerably. Unfortunately, takeaway meals and packaged foods have a reputation for having lots of added sugar (and sodium, but that’s another story).

If you’re looking to cut down on sugar, start thinking about ways to incorporate more fresh foods into your diet. If time is a major issue, try incorporating your lunch prep into your evening routine. A great time to do it is when you’re packing the kids’ lunches because you’re prepping food during this time anyway!

The great thing about eating more whole and fresh foods is that it will keep you fuller for longer. The added benefit: it will help you save on eating out every lunch.

Taking the time to pack a healthy, balanced lunch will save you eating high-sugar takeaway meals.

(Source: Getty Images)

4. Rethink your hot drink options

If you’re a sucker for an early morning coffee, a mid-morning mocha or an afternoon tea, there is a likely chance that you’re consuming a lot more sugar than you realise (not to mention, caffeine).

While you might be under the impression that a coffee or tea is harmless, if you take your coffee with sugar or drink it with a milk alternative like soy or almond, your sugar levels could be creeping up without you even realising. Even beverages that sound healthy can be laden with hidden sugar — chai lattes are made from powders that are laced with added sugar!

Rather than cutting out hot beverages altogether, try and swap-out that afternoon coffee for an herbal tea or try filling up on more water instead.

5. Get enough sleep

As any busy mum knows, some nights, getting a solid eight hours of shuteye feels almost impossible. As a result, you wake up feeling tired and sluggish, and this puts your body in a vulnerable position. Obviously, the more tired you become, the more your body craves simple carbs and sugar to help you feel immediately energised.

Turning to sugar is, however, a short-lived approach and in the long run, will leave you feeling more fatigued and craving even more sugar. Over the years, this constant spike and drop in blood sugar can throw your natural insulin production out of whack leaving you more susceptible to diseases such as diabetes.

The best way to combat this vicious cycle is to try your best to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night. If you’re struggling to make the cut, rather than turning to sugar and caffeine to boost your energy, try reaching for supplement drinks such as Glucerna Triple Care. Formulated to help regulate blood sugar and filled with lots of beneficial fatty acids, the milkshake-style drink will help keep your energy levels up and blood sugar levels stable. It’s also great for those who may be struggling with diabetes.

Implementing a healthy sleeping habit will do wonders for your health, and your sugar cravings.

(Source: Getty Images)

6. Cut down your alcohol intake

There’s nothing better than kicking up your feet at the end of a long and stressful week with a glass (or two) of wine. Better yet, enjoying a few weekend cocktails with your girlfriends. But while alcoholic beverages prove a great way to unwind, drinking too much alcohol can seriously increase the amount of sugar you consume, as well as your calorie intake!

While spirits like vodka and gin mixed with soda prove fairly harmless in small quantities, sugary cocktails like mojitos and fortified wine contain higher amounts of sugar that can very easily tip you over your recommended daily intake.

There’s no need to cut alcohol out altogether, but try to stay clear, or at least limit, your consumption of high-sugar drinks. If you are wanting to drink, opt for a glass of red wine, a spirit mixed with soda water or a sugar-free soft drink. Also remember to follow up your alcoholic drinks with a glass of water. Your hangover will thank you too!

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