After  Jamie Oliver’s recent sugar rush documentary and the last SACN report, there is definitely a need for us to re-evaluate how much sugar we are consuming. Most of us are aware that it is important that sugar needs to be consumed in moderation.

However, this can be challenging, especially when many of the foods we eat, have more sugar in it than we think.

Eating too much sugar can:

  • Lead to weight gain, when combined with a sedentary lifestyle. This means that a higher sugar intake can contribute to obesity
    and in turn type 2 diabetes, as well as other diet-related conditions.
  • Can negatively affect your mood-After a “sugar rush”, you can get a dip in mood & become irritable, anxious & tired.
  • Can lead to a greater risk of tooth decay.

Tips to reduce sugar in your diet:

Identify the sugar sources in your diet– nutrition labels include a list of ingredients that often call sugar by different names. Know the different aliases for sugar so you can avoid sugar-heavy foods.


Sugar aliases

  • Cut fast food out your diet-Try your best to reduce the amount of fast food you have in your diet because fast food, even though savoury, can have a considerable amount of sugar.
  • It may be worth considering cooking as much of your meals from scratch as possible. That way you know exactly what is in your food. To save time, you can cook and freeze meals for later to reduce how much times you need to cook.
  • Clear your home of sugary temptations– Try not to keep too much sugary foods in your home so the temptation is not there.
  • When having a large portion of something knowingly sweet for e.g. cake, biscuits, donuts etc., try not to eat it all at once. Have some and leave the rest for another time.

Avoid sugary breakfasts and breakfast bars high in sugar. More than 15g of total sugars per 100g means it has a high sugar content. In contrast, 5g of total sugars per 100g means it has a low sugar content.


  • Some savoury foods have surprisingly, high amounts of sugar. Often, ready-made foods for e.g. soups, stir-in-sauces can contain high amounts of sugar.
  • Try to have smaller portions of condiments and sauces that contain a high amount of sugar for e.g. some brands of ketchup, sweet & sour sauce etc.

Snacks and afters/dessert

  • Make your own desserts and snacks.
  • Less sugary desserts include fresh fruit, lower fat/lower sugar rice pudding and yoghurt. However, caution with yoghurt as some low fat yoghurt can contain high amounts of sugar.
  • Try to have a savoury snacks and afters instead of sugary options for e.g. crackers & rice cakes.

Drinks often can be a big contribution to sugar in our diets. This is because drinks can often not only contain natural sugars, but a large proportion of added sugars as well.

  1. Try to not to achieve your 5 a day mainly by drinking ready-made fruit juices and smoothies. By trying to use that method to increase your fruit intake means that you will be most likely, missing out on essential fibre (from the fruit) that would of being lost through the fruit/smoothie drink making process.
  2. Try to avoid having fizzy drinks and soft drinks high in sugar but if needs be, try sugar-free varieties.
  3. When making hot drinks such as tea or coffee, try to add less sugar of if you can, sweetener or no sugar at all.
  4. Try diluting sweet drinks with water.