Simple tricks to cut down on sugar

We believe living well means eating well, and that means eating less sugar and salt – which is not easy.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has proposed a reduction of the recommended daily intake of added sugar for healthy adults to 5% of total energy intake. This amounts to about 6 teaspoons (or 25g) of added sugar per day, and includes white sugar as well as sugar from honey, syrups and fruit concentrates. The key is not just to focus on ‘visible’ sugar, like the teaspoons of sugar you add to your morning coffee or porridge, but also to be aware of ‘hidden’ sugars, like the sugar that is added to foods like yoghurt, sauces, condiments etc.

So, how on earth do you manage? Pay attention to what you buy, and be conscious of your sugar usage when cooking. Luckily, there are loads of smart ways to add flavour to food without using sugar. Try these tips when baking or cooking, to add not only a depth of flavour to food, but boost nutrients as well.

  • Use fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy, which contain naturally occurring sugars, to add sweetness. For example grated carrots, mashed banana or sweet potato, dates, apple puree, buttermilk or plain yoghurt are great ways to sweeten a bran muffin. And of course berries are great for baking!
  • Raw seeds and nuts, roasted at home, or cacau nibs, are also great for added flavour and texture.
  • Use different grains or nut flours to add interest, texture and new flavours to baking. Examples include buckwheat, oatmeal, quinoa, chickpea and almond flour.
  • Spices and herbs are fantastic for added flavour – consider cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger and the spice of the moment, turmeric.