We’ve all heard of sugar addiction, but it’s becoming a growing issue in the Western world. The World Health Organization has warned that high sugar intake can be linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other long-term health problems. The issue is that we simply consume far too much sugar on a daily basis, and it’s having a marked impact on our health. If you’re worried about your family’s sugar intake and are keen to help them overcome the problem, read on to find out what you can do to help.
Step One: Work Out How Much Sugar Your Family Is Consuming
The first step to tackling your family’s sugar problem is to work out just how much they’re consuming in the first place. The easiest way to do this is to look at the labels on food products to check how much sugar they contain and compare them against current dietary recommendations. This can be done at home or with online tools and will give you a good indication of how much sugar your family is consuming daily.
Step Two: Cut Back On Sugary Drinks
The World Health Organisation recommends that free sugars (sugars added to foods and drinks) should not make up more than 10% of your total energy intake. Unfortunately, research shows that both adults and children in the UK regularly exceed these guidelines with drinks alone, so it’s important to focus on reducing sugary drink intake. Encourage your family to switch to unsweetened drinks like water, tea and coffee, or at least to opt for low-sugar alternatives where possible.
Step Three: Create An Action Plan
Once you’ve identified how much sugar your family is consuming and where it’s coming from, it’s time to create an action plan and start making some changes. You can set goals for how much sugar you want to cut out of your family’s diet, as well as realistic strategies for how to achieve that aim. Discussing the pros and cons of cutting out certain foods and drinks with your family can be a good way to get everyone onboard. Plus, it can be helpful to suggest healthier alternatives for tempting sugary snacks.
Step Four: Focus On Offering Healthy Home-Cooked Meals
One of the best things you can do to help your family reduce their sugar intake is to focus on offering them healthy home-cooked meals. Home-cooked meals are often healthier than those you buy pre-prepared because you can use fresh ingredients and control every aspect of how they’re prepared. Plus, you can make an extra effort to reduce the amount of sugar in the meals you prepare by swapping out added sugar for natural sugars, like fruit and honey.
Step Five: Ditch The Food Rewards
Finally, one of the most insidious causes of sugar addiction is the food reward system that is used in our society. As parents, it can be easy to slip into the habit of rewarding good behaviour with sugary snacks and treats. Unfortunately, in doing so, you’re conditioning your children to associate sugary snacks with good feelings, leading them to crave the reward whenever they’re feeling down. Try to find healthier alternatives to reward your kids and avoid using treats as a form of bribery.
In conclusion, sugar addiction is a real problem in the Western world and it’s up to us to help our families reduce their intake. To do this, it’s important to start by working out how much sugar your family consumes and where it’s coming from. You should then move on to cutting back on sugary drinks, creating an action plan, offering up healthy home-cooked meals and ditching the food rewards. Doing all this can help your family to start reducing their sugar intake and live a healthier lifestyle.