We all know that sugar causes health problems, weight gain and even premature ageing, but the idea of giving it up seems completely daunting. Here's all you need to know about ditching the sweet stuff.
Is sugar really bad for you?
'The high fructose content of sugar has been linked to all kinds of metabolic aberrations and hormonal disturbances that can potentially increase your chances of developing major health issues, including obesity, heart disease and mood disorders,' says nutritionist Alex Shallat, of The Nutri Centre.
And does avoiding sugar have any health benefits?
'Removing or dramatically reducing sugar is likely to enhance weight loss, boost energy, optimise heart health and help stabilise your mood,' says Alex Shallat.
So how will we feel if we ditch sugar?
'Sugar is highly addictive, so withdrawal symptoms are normal. People should aim to start a sugar-free diet when they have a few days off work. Feeling somewhat unwell on this diet is fairly normal, but this should pass after three to four days. It all depends on how much sugar was in your diet to begin with, though,' says Alex Shallat.
How can we cut sugar out of my diet easily?
'Going for healthier alternatives instead of sugary foods is the easiest way to eliminate sugar from your diet,' says Alex Shallatt.
So what should we eat instead of sugar?
'Here are some simple switches that will help you limit your sugar intake,' says Alex Shallat.
1. 'Drink herbal teas instead of fizzy drinks and coffee. There are a variety of flavours to choose from so you won't run out of teas to try.'
2. 'Switch your mid-afternoon sugary snack for a handful of sweet but healthy cranberries, blueberries or raisins.'
3. 'Instead of ice cream go for frozen yoghurt.'
4. 'Swap your favourite milk chocolate bar for a couple of squares of dark chocolate, which is made from cocoa solids.'
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