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8 easy swaps to eat less sugar every day

8 easy swaps to eat less sugar every day

With these eight easy food swaps, you’ll cut down on your daily sugar without ever feeling like you’re missing out.

Reducing the added sugars we eat can help with weight management and prevent tooth decay. The World Health Organization recommends we limit added sugar intake to no more than 24g or six teaspoons a day. Making small tweaks to your diet can cut your sugar intake with very little effort.

1. Swap sugary cereals for porridge

A large serving of some cereals can contain half your daily sugar limit. Porridge made with skim milk has no added sugars – just top with fresh fruit or stir in some cinnamon or vanilla for extra flavour.

2. Swap fruit juice for a piece of fruit

A 300ml glass of orange juice can contain as much as 25g sugar, but you don’t need to worry about the sugar in whole fruit because fruit is digested slowly and comes with important nutrients and gut-friendly fibre. So why not enjoy it as it is!

3. Swap fizzy drinks for sparkling water

There’s 35g sugar (9tsp) in a typical 330ml can of cola. If it’s the fizz you love, switch to diet versions or, better still, sparkling water. Avoid flavoured varieties that can sometimes contain just as much added sugar as regular fizzy drinks.

4. Swap bought dressings for homemade vinaigrette

Some salad dressings can add a few grams of unexpected sugar to your healthy meal. Swap for a homemade vinaigrette of 1 part balsamic vinegar to 1 part extra virgin olive oil to keep the sugar content down while also adding zing to your dish.

5. Swap fruit yoghurt for natural yoghurt with fruit

Some yoghurts contain 2tsp-plus of added sugar per small 125ml pot. Switch to low-fat natural yoghurt and add fresh or canned (in juice, not syrup) fruit for sweet flavour as well as one of your five-a-day

6. Swap ready-made pasta sauce

Bought jars can have up to 3g sugar per 100g. Instead, make your own for the freezer: drizzle 1kg tomatoes with 2tbsp olive oil and roast at your oven’s lowest setting for 2 hr. When really soft, blitz with some fresh basil.

7. Swap chocolate nut spread for peanut butter

Nutella, for instance, has 8.5g sugars per 15g spoonful. Opting for no-added-sugar peanut butter instead is a great way to turn toast into a filling snack without free sugars. Stick to a 1tsp serving as the nut content means it’s still high in calories.

8. Swap a muffin for a crumpet

Muffins do vary in sugar content, but some can pack in more than an adult’s daily limit for sugar. A crumpet has just 1g free sugars. Spread with 1tsp low-fat spread or a little reduced-sugar jam if you prefer them sweet.

First published: May 2022

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