Why You Need to Cut Your Sugar Intake – and How to Start

Halloween is rapidly approaching, meaning you won’t only be surrounded by spooky decorations, but also a scary amount of sweets. Indulging may be tempting, but use this opportunity to kick your sweet tooth by reconsidering your sugar intake.

Why should I cut down?

There’s more to excess sugar than weight gain…

Health benefits
Reduced blood pressure and bad cholesterol as well as a lower risk of diabetes and heart attacks are some advantages to steering clear of the sweet stuff. On top of this, too much sugar weakens your immune system, meaning your body will struggle more to fight off illness.

Stronger teeth
Your dentist will be grateful too if you cut down your sugar intake, as sugar is often at the root of cavities. Created by acids, cavities are aggravated by sugar consumption, destroying the tooth enamel. Reducing your intake won’t guarantee you a cavity-free life, but it will certainly help.

Clear and youthful skin
Sugary foods have been found to have an effect on the severity of acne because of the hormonal fluctuations they trigger. Added sugar also produces enzymes which break down collagen and elastin, causing sagging skin and wrinkles.

Better energy levels
A ‘sugar high’ may feel great at the time, similarly to caffeine or nicotine, but the sudden drop in energy levels that follows, known as a ‘crash’, can leave you feeling drained and sluggish. At this point it’s tempting to reach for another sweet fix, leading you into a constant cycle of sugar spikes and drops.

Where do I start?

If jumping into the deep end and cutting all sugar from your diet understandably feels too daunting to imagine, here are some ideas for easing yourself in gently.

Fruit is your friend
Put down that sugary snack and pick up some fruit. You’ll feel much better for it and it will fill that biscuit-shaped hole with good healthy sugars.

Not all chocolate is bad
Yes, you did read that right. Despite chocolate often being portrayed as the enemy, dark chocolate has proven health benefits which makes it another great alternative for processed sugars.

Opt for sugar-free
Drinks, gum, even cake! The demand for sugar-free options is on the rise, meaning it is easier than ever to substitute your bad habits for healthier ones.

Don’t break-fast, break-smart!
Breakfast can make or ‘break’ your day. Choose a savoury breakfast over a sweet one; starting with a sugar high will leave you pining for more all day. Breakfast bars and cereals are jam-packed with processed sugars, and even the ‘healthier’ options can be misleadingly sugary.

If you are a porridge-fiend, then you’re on the right track! However, replace added sugar or honey with fresh fruit for a healthier start to your day.

Keep an eye out for traffic lights
Many people are still unaware that a simple breakdown of their food’s ingredients is staring them in the face. The traffic light system makes it easier than ever to track your snack’s contents. Try to resist anything with a red label, and avoid ambers where possible. Going green has never been so simple!