Cut down on sugar

Sugar is a major, if not the, major cause of unhealthy weight and type 2 diabetes, and adds to your risk of many other health problems including high blood pressure and heart disease. But sugar, both naturally occurring and as an added ingredient, is so common that knowing when and how to cut it out can be a challenge.

Very simply, ‘free sugar’ is what we need to cut down on in our diets. Free sugar works differently (and harmfully) in your body compared with the sugar within fruits when eaten whole. Hidden free sugar is present in most processed food and drinks, and is often disguised on the label by appearing as several different types of sub-ingredients—see the resources section for help deciphering labels.

The good news is that it’s really easy to cut this out of your diet once you know what to look for. Top tips include:

  • Swap sweetened fizzy drinks for tap water or for hot drinks that don’t need added sugar.
  • Swap sweets, sugary chocolate bars, snacks and cakes for fruit.
  • Avoid sugary breakfast cereals, instead choose cereals with little or no sugar, porridge, low-sugar breakfast bars, unsweetened yoghurt, and fruit.
  • Read the labels on processed food and ready meals, to check for hidden sugars (see resources). Check the sugar content of fast-foods, and wherever possible choose to cook from scratch so that you know what is in your food.

Our Partners & Sponsors