Health

Don’t get too sweet on sugar

Reduce your intake with these quick tips

Besides causing rapid weight gain, mood swing, inflammation, tooth decay and other health problems, sugar can be addictive, which is why you keep wanting more.

If you love sweet things but know you ought to cut down, these easy changes will help you reduce your refined sugar intake.

CONSUME FULL-FAT DAIRY

While the skim option may seem more appealing because it has lower calories, sugar is often added to replicate the taste and body of the full-fat version.

Furthermore, experts point out that eating low-fat food tends to make you load up on carbohydrates and sugars, which is probably worse than going for the more satisfying full-fat dairy product anyway.

USE VANILLA

One British study has found that the saccharine scent of vanilla seems to be able to trick you into thinking you are having something sweet, reducing your craving for candy, soda and other treats.

The smell supposedly triggers serotonin production in your brain, the same happiness-inducing chemical that eating chocolate produces, so it is no wonder that the craving for chocolate in particular takes a dive.

GO FOR DARK CHOCOLATE

Not only is it better for you with high levels of antioxidants, dark chocolate also contains less sugar and has been proven to regulate appetite.

Go for bars with nuts to further reduce the sugar content.

AVOID CONDIMENTS

Sugar is a sneaky ingredient in many processed food items, including condiments. Among the worst offenders are ketchup and barbecue sauce.

Ketchup has 3.62g (almost one teaspoon worth) of sugar in a tablespoon while barbecue sauce has 5.65g (more than a teaspoon) of sugar in a tablespoon.

TURN TO SUBSTITUTES

Dull your craving for refined sugar by going for healthier substitutes such as fruits or sweeter produce such as peas, corn, beets and sweet potato.

They are a lot more nutritious and will help you get in some fibre too.

ADD SPICES

Most cookie and cake recipes call for a shocking amount of sugar. But instead of going full throttle with the sweet stuff, experiment with cutting down the sugar and adding spices instead to amp up the flavour.

Cinnamon, in particular, has been shown to curb sugar craving and conveniently goes well with most baked goods.

PICK SPARKLING WATER

Swop sodas with sparkling water instead. And if you wish, add a squeeze of citrus or some fruits to jazz up your drink.

This article was first published in Shape (www.shape.com.sg)

Food & Drink