5 steps to curb your sugar habit

Going “cold turkey” on sugar is not recommended, unless you can cope with headaches, mood swings, skin eruptions, depression and drowsiness. Take it slowly and your transition from sugar-dependency to stable blood sugar will be much easier.

Adapt your diet

Description: Cut out as much processed foods as you can

Cut out as much processed foods as you can, and increase your protein portions to dampen sugar cravings. “Protein stimulates the release of glucagon, a fat-burning hormone that maintains stable blood glucose levels and releases stored fat so it can be burned for energy,” says Teitelbaum. Eat nuts, cottage cheese, chicken, turkey, eggs and lean meats. Eat enough healthy fats to help maintain your energy levels and balance blood sugar. Choose low-GI carbohydrates, which release their sugars slowly and help steady energy levels for longer. “These include wholegrains, fibre-rich and low-starch foods such as beans, and pulses and lot of colourful vegetables including broccoli to reverse the immune-suppressing effects of sugar,” he says.

Do regular exercise

Description: Do regular exercise

Regular, moderate exercise will help stabilize your blood sugar levels. It also improves insulin response, so your body can deal with blood sugar highs when they occur. When you exercise, your energy levels increase, reducing your need to reach for sugar and caffeine. Strenuous exercise, on the other hand, can cause your body to release more glucose to fuel your muscles, which raises blood sugar levels temporarily. After a workout, avoid the call of sugar-laden sport- recovery foods and drinks, and try coconut water or berries and nuts instead.

Take a multivitamin

“Inadequate levels of nutrients will trigger food cravings,” says Teitelbaum. Fatigue and stress use up vital nutrient stores. Multivitamins contain B vitamins, which help to metabolise carbohydrates and prompt your brain to produce the “happy hormone” serotonin, and the mineral chromium, which improves insulin production to see you through sugar withdrawal. “Adding one tablespoon of ground cinnamon, rich in chromium, to your meals each day has been shown to improve insulin function,” says Bailey.

Stay hydrated

Description: Drinking water helps fill you up when a sugar craving strikes

Drinking water helps fill you up when a sugar craving strikes. “Caffeine makes sugar withdrawal worse,” says Teitelbaum. When the caffeine wears off, your body automatically looks for sugar for energy.


Sleep is vital for balancing hormones and ensures your brain produces enough serotonin to boost your mood and suppress your appetite. Sweet dreams!

Is fruit sugar bad?

Description: Regular, moderate exercise will help stabilize your blood sugar

Regular, moderate exercise will help stabilize your blood sugar


The sugar in fruit is naturally occurring fructose. “Restrict your fruit portions to two-a-day,” says Bailey. “Eat the whole fruit, not just the juice, to get all the vitamins, minerals and fibre. Apples, pears, citrus fruits and berries are less likely to create blood sugar spikes than mango, pineapple, grapes and dried fruit.”

Sweet as… six sugar alternatives

Stevia This South American herb has been used for centuries as a sweetener. It has zero calories and carbs, and scores zero on the glycaemic index. Try Truvia (270g, $8) or PureVia (65 cubes, $8), both available at waitrose.com

Pure maple syrup Naturally lower in carolies and higher in nutrients than honey, this is great for porridge, pancakes, tea and smoothies. It’s rich in manganese and zinc for a healthy immune system. Try Meridian Organic Pure Maple Syrup (250g, $8; goodnessdirect.co.uk)

Agave nectar Extracted from the Agave plant, agave nectar is sweeter than honey. It’s a delicious natural sweetener and has medicinal anti-bacterial properties. Try The Groovy Food Co’s Premium Agave Nectar (250ml, $4; tesco.com)

Fruit syrups Made with 100 per cent fruit, these syrups are a healthy substitute for honey and processed sugar. Try Sweet Freedom Natural Sweetness syrup (350g, $4; healthysupplies.co.uk)

Xylitol This natural sweetener is used to sweeten chewing gum, toothpaste and medicines and actively protects your teeth from decay. It has 40 per cent fewer calories and 75 per cent fewer carbs than sugar, and is safe for diabetics. Try Total Sweet 100% Natural Xylitol Sweetener (225g, $4; sainsburys.co.uk)

Luo Han Guo This Chinese fruit is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Its health benefits are endless: it can be used as a remedy for colds, coughs and sore throats, and as a blood purifier. In its powdered form, it can be added to hot drinks and used in baking. Try Herbaforce Luo Han Guo Extract (50g, $6; happyhealthco.co.uk).

Secret sugar traps

Description: sugar traps

Sugar labeling is voluntary in the UK at the moment. Are these sugar-laden sinners hiding out in your cupboards?

·         1 teaspoon – 4g of sugar

·         Tropicana orange juice – 20g fructose per 200ml (only 10g sugar in a Krispy Kreme doughnut!)

·         Onken Biopot Natural Set yoghurt – Contains 8,7g sugar per 150g serving.

·         Glaceau Vitamin Water – 23g added fructose and cane sugar per 500ml

·         Special K cereal – A 30g bowlful contains 11g of sugar

  ·         Yakult – This probiotic contains 9.2g of sugar per 65ml shot.
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