Harry Potter and the Sugar-free lifestyle

May 23, 2017 9:57 am Published by 1 Comment

It’s my second favourite part of the new Harry Potter book – the script of The Cursed Child.

‘Toffee?’, a grown-up Hermione (now Minister of Magic) offers Harry. ‘Can’t’, he replies, ‘We’re off sugar at the moment’.

Are you going sugar-free, like Harry and Hermione?

Too many sticky toffee puddings at the Hallowe’en feast?

(My first favourite part, for the record, is the bit where the grown-up Draco spots a farmer’s market in Godric’s Hollow.)

So yes, with a certain tinge of sadness and resignation, Harry and Hermione have grown up. They’ve got kids, responsibilities, worries – and health concerns. The days of chocolate frogs, Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans and house-elf bread and butter puddings are behind them. They might not be able to thwart all the forces of darkness, but they do know it’s time to say Expelliarmus! to sugar.

If you too have grown up with Harry Potter, you might be coming to the same conclusion. If so, you might also like some of our tips on going sugar-free (or at least, on cutting down). I’m afraid they’re not magic tips. Magic, it seems, can’t help muggles any more than witches and wizards.

Sugar-free tips: start by watching what you eat

It’s useful to get an idea of just how much sugar you’re consuming. You’ll be able to measure any sugar you add to your meals yourself very easily (count the teaspoons of sugar you stir into tea, for example, or weigh out into a batch of cakes). Less easy to work out is the amount of sugar in food you buy.

The internet can give a good idea of how much food there is in certain café and restaurant products. For food that’s labelled, you simply need to check the ingredients label. Is there any added sugar there? Is it sugar under a different name: sucrose, fructose, barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, maltose?

Check the label for hidden sugars.

How much sugar is in the food you eat?

Check every bit of food you eat. Sugar is hidden in all manner of ingredients and processed products, including in savoury goods. The chances are, if you crave it, it’s got some sugar in it.

Come down slowly

Some people come off sugar completely, in one go. Others come down more slowly (the symptoms of sugar withdrawal aren’t fun). As you come down, you cut out a little bit of sugar every day or so – a spoonful less in a drink, or a smaller glass of a drink; a pudding skipped at lunchtime but retained in the evening; a savoury snack instead of a sweet snack – and so on.

Try sugar alternatives

While you’re coming down, you might like to try some sugar alternatives. These are still sweet, but they’re sweet in a different way, accustoming your body to more natural tastes. Depending on the product, they also affect your body in different ways, with less of an immediate sugar rush. Take a look at our honey, maple syrup and rice syrup, for example. Natural sweeteners such as xylitol and stevia also provide sweetness without the sugar rush.

Dried fruit is a good option

Try a handful of dried fruit to stave off sugar cravings.

Dried fruit is naturally sweet and very good for you.

Dried fruit is very sweet – but its sugars are natural, and it brings a wealth of vitamins and minerals to your diet. A serving of dried fruit each day is a really good way to boost nutrition in your diet. It can also help you suppress the cravings for something properly sugary. When you get an urge you just can’t ignore, fill up on some nuts or seeds, then finish with a spoonful of raisins. We’d recommend our dates, apricots, raisins and sultanas in particular, for those on the sugar-free journey.

Flavour with spices

Sugar isn’t the only flavouring out there. How about a spoonful of cinnamon or nutmeg on yoghurt or porridge – or in hot drinks?

Protein keeps you full

One reason nuts and seeds work well to combat cravings is because protein does a really good job of keeping you full. A square of cheese is another good option to stave off those sugary thoughts – or some nut butter on a cracker.

Eat properly

You’re much less likely to snack on sugary foods if you’re eating proper, balanced meals, based on complex wholegrain carbohydrates that release their energy slowly. For these, you need to check out our wholefoods section.

Good luck on your sugar-free journey!




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This post was written by Yzanne

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