Tips for reducing sugar intake
TIP: Check the nutritional information on food labels. Aim for foods that contain no more than 5g of sugar per 100g or 100ml.
Among other things, sugar promotes the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut. Reducing sugar intake is one step towards improving your gut health and your overall health. When we are tired and stressed we often seek sugary foods and snacks that are lacking in the nutrients our body needs to support itself.
Foods with a sugar content of:
- Less than 5g per 100g are considered to be low in sugar
- 5-15g of sugar per 100g has a medium amount of sugar
- More than 15g of sugar per 100g are considered high in sugar and are best avoided.
No added sugar does not necessarily mean that a food is low in sugar, as the food may be naturally high in sugar (e.g. fruit juice).
When checking the ingredients list for sugar, it may also be referred to as sucrose, dextrose, maltose, fructose, glucose, golden syrup, corn syrup, disaccharide, honey, maple syrup, malt, lactose, brown sugar, caster sugar, maple syrup, raw sugar, sucrose.
Food swaps are a great way to reduce refined sugar intake
Avoid sugary breakfast cereals, instead, try
Instead of a muffin, cake, biscuit or muesli bar for morning/afternoon tea have
- Store-bought sauces and dressings contain lots of hidden sugar. Homemade tomato and pasta sauce or a salad dressing of olive oil and lemon juice are delicious and low in sugar
- Swap white bread and white rice for whole-grain sourdough bread, and brown rice, quinoa, freekeh or buckwheat
- Instead of sugary desserts try yoghurt with berries and a drizzle of honey
- Swap sugary soft drinks and juices for sparkling water and herbal tea (avoid diet drinks as the artificial sweeteners are just as bad for your gut)
For good health it is important to take note of your sugar intake and attempt to choose foods that are low in sugar and avoid those that are high in sugar. This can be done by reading food labels and selecting foods with a sugar content of <5g per 100g and avoiding those with >15g per 100g. Making food swaps and choosing healthy snacks over processed foods containing high amounts of sugar is a great way to reduce your sugar intake.