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Us Irish folk; whilst we’re good at a lot of things (music, sport, our friendly nature and unrivaled sense of humour), one thing we’re not so great at is the old healthy eating – especially when it comes to sugar.
According to research from Euromonitor, Ireland is the fourth highest consumer of sugar in the world – taking in, on average, 96.7 grams per day. To put that in context that’s 24 spoonfuls – 18 spoonfuls more than the recommended daily average!
Although doctors and medical professionals will agree that too much sugar is bad for your health and your waistline, it’s not recommended to eliminate it completely from your diet, as everything should be enjoyed in moderation.
However, if you’re particularly fond of the sweet stuff and can’t enjoy a cup of tea without at least two good heaped spoonfuls, there are some small everyday steps you can take to reduce your intake significantly and help prevent Ireland from becoming the most obese country in Europe by 2030, as the World Health Organisation predicts.
17 everyday ways to reduce your sugar intake
1. Understand food labels & buy those labelled “no added sugar” or “unsweetened. Sugar can be disguised on labels as Corn sweetener, Corn syrup, Fruit juice concentrates, Molasses, and Sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose)
2. Cut back on the amount of sugar added to things you eat or drink regularly like cereal, coffee or tea – don’t go cold turkey ween yourself off.
3. Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal, add fresh fruit
4. Swap sugar in recipes, use extracts such as almond, vanilla, spices, orange or lemon.
5. Switch flavoured porridge for plain porridge with a dash of cinnamon
6. Substitute unsweetened applesauce for sugar in recipes
7. Eat healthy fats – Fats help keep you fuller for longer, decreasing your desire for sugar. Try avocados, nuts, seeds, and heart-healthy oils like olive oil, walnut oil, and coconut oil.
8. Avoid sugary drinks – fizzy drinks, flavoured waters, iced teas, energy drinks, smoothies and concentrated juice.
9. Overhaul your breakfast – swap cereal for eggs
10. Prepare homemade food – tomato pasta sauce can have up to 11 teaspoons sugar in it make your own and control how much sugar you eat
11. Get plenty of sleep – Sleep deprivation has proven links to obesity and poor food choices
12. Eat protein with every meal – helps to control blood sugar -full fat cheese, yoghurt, eggs, nuts, seeds, poultry, fish, meat, hemp, legumes, chia seeds.
13. Don’t skip meals – Not eating enough will also have you reaching for chocolate
14. Snack on frozen watermelon chunks and grapes or drink hot water with a slice of lemon to stave of cravings. Research proves that most craving only last 10-20mins.
15. Reduce Simple Carbs – Swap white pastas and bread for wholegrain.
16. Swap salad dressing for balsamic vinegar
17. Watch out for yoghurts can contain huge amounts of sugar, swap these sugary yoghurts for a natural yoghurt alternative, with pieces of fruit.
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