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Five ways to cut down on sugar
  • Most adults and children eat too much sugar. There’s no need to avoid it completely, but it does make sense to eat fewer sugary foods like sweets, chocolate, mithai, cakes, pastries, and biscuits for good health.

  • Photo: Vanessa Courtier Vanessa Courtier

    Most adults and children eat too much sugar. Sugar doesn't give you any vitamins, minerals or fibre, though it does make food taste good! There's no need to avoid sugar completely, but it does make sense to eat fewer sugary foods like sweets, chocolate, mithai, cakes, pastries, and biscuits for good health.

    1. Give children a healthy start in life by offering fresh fruit or drained canned fruit, instead of sugary sweets and puddings. Sugar-rich blackcurrant cordials given to younger children in a bottle can be damaging to their teeth as they often sip the juice throughout the day. Habits learnt in childhood tend to remain in adult life.
    2. If you take sugar in tea or coffee, cut back half a teaspoon per cup each week. Your tastes have a strange way of adapting, so you'll find you do get used to it. Keep it up and you will be able to cut out sugar altogether. It will be better for your waistline and your teeth.
    3. Choose fresh fruit for dessert more often than other puddings. You will get fibre, vitamins and fewer calories. It doesn't need to be boring: Experiment with exotic fruits – try warm grilled bananas, tropical fruit salad or a baked apple. Or you could try out the carrot halwa recipe on this site – taste that won't show on your waist!
    4. Choose fruit canned in natural juice or water, rather than in syrup.
    5. Mithai like gulab jamun, ras malai and burfi are packed with sugar and often also saturated fat, both of which we should only be eating in small amounts. Save mithai for special occasions only and don't go overboard on your portion size.
    6. Fruit juice is a healthy choice, and counts as one of the five portions of fruit and vegetables you should be having every day. But it is better to drink unsweetened fruit juice rather than sweetened fruit drinks. Also, have juice at mealtimes so it is less damaging to your teeth.
    7. Sugar rich soft drinks can have seven teaspoons of sugar per can – think about it next time you reach for one.

    Remember to check food labels to help you pick the foods with less added sugar, or select the low-sugar version. If food labels in your local supermarket use traffic lights, choose foods with amber or green lights.

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