January 9, 2019 6:24 am Leave your thoughts
How was your Christmas? Plenty of mince-pies, chocolate coins and extravagant delights of whipped cream, sugar and meringue? I hope so. But what’s next? The January hair-shirt of new resolutions? A strict Veganuary diet? Or perhaps….a visit from the Pudding Tax collectors?
The Pudding Tax doesn’t exist yet, of course. But it’s part of a new proposal by public health experts, who remain concerned about high levels of sugar consumption in the UK. There’s already a ‘sugar tax’ on fizzy drinks, but puddings are currently only covered by a voluntary initiative, which encourages manufacturers to reduce their sugar content by one-fifth. Officials, including Public Health England’s chief nutritionist Dr Alison Tedstone, and the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, are unconvinced that this will work. The first set of figures since the new targets were introduced show that there have so far been no changes to the sugar content of chocolates or biscuits, while puddings have managed to become even sweeter.
‘Puddings’, announced Dr Tedstone sternly at the start of this year, are ‘going in completely the wrong direction’. If the industry fails to make sufficient voluntary changes, ‘mandatory and fiscal levers’ could be introduced. The Sun newspaper reckons these levers will add £1 to the cost of a pudding. But will they make anyone think twice?
The real tax
There’s not much doubt that sugar is an issue, with rising rates of obesity in the population at large, and especially amongst children. Regardless of whether we all pay a financial tax on sugar, we’ll be paying the price in terms of health: on our waistlines, in our arteries, in our skin, in our organs and in our ability to fight off serious disease.
Naturally Good Food sells lots of sugar. We’ve got no problem with sugar in small amounts and we firmly believe that if you’re going to use it, you should use the best. That’s why we sell unrefined sugar (organic where possible), in which the natural mineral elements of the food are locked in, rather than refined out. We also sell a huge range of what you might call ‘sugar alternatives’ – syrups, extracts and natural sweeteners. Opting for one of these is a good staging-post on the journey out of sugar-debt. Many of your favourite sweet treats are likely to start including sugar substitutes on their lists of ingredients, instead of ‘real’ sugar, as they scramble to meet the government targets.
But these treats will still be sweet. They won’t stop you craving sugar and they won’t stop you being unable to resist gorging on it, just as soon as the sugar police have turned their backs. If you really want to cut down on sugar, self-regulation is the only answer. And to self-regulate, you need to train your body to require less sugar on a daily basis.
First thing in January, that might not sound terribly appealing. But it’s not actually very difficult, so long as you take it easy – and the benefits are undeniable. You can expect to see your skin brighten, your weight drop and your energy and enthusiasm levels rocket. Meanwhile, your chances of developing heart disease, diabetes and numerous cancers will diminish significantly.
If you think you just can’t bear a life without sweetness – well, you don’t have to. Once you stop eating refined sugar by the spoonful, your taste-buds will quickly adjust. You’ll start to appreciate the natural sugar taste in all manner of sugar-free foods. On a low-sugar diet, fruit has never tasted so delicious – so naturally, wonderfully sweet. Vegetables too, like carrots, become almost a treat to eat, thanks to their natural sugars. You’ll still get your sugar kick, but you’ll get it as nature intended – and without any kind of tax at all.
Thinking about going low-sugar? We’ve got some basic pointers below.
Going low-sugar: how to do it
Cut down gradually
Make changes slowly and gradually – one pudding at a time. Your body will steadily adjust without you even really noticing. Why not set an aim to be within the government guidelines by, say, the summer – or by next January?
Eat plenty of protein, wholefoods and fat
Sugar fills you up and boosts (temporarily) your energy. When you’re avoiding sugar, the worst side-effect can be feeling hungry, because that’s when the cravings and the reachings-for-the-biscuit-tin happen. The best way to counteract hunger is to make sure that you’re properly full of non-sugary foods. Don’t stint on protein or fat (for now, at least).
Wholefoods are the best foods we know for keeping you full. Our oats, rice, grains and pulses fill you with long-lasting, slow-releasing energy. Nuts and seeds, meanwhile, rich in protein, are great at suppressing cravings. We’ve got a wonderful selection, including plenty of organic options. One NGF staff member who’s successfully cut down on her sugar intake credits her success to her habit of nibbling a couple of whole almonds every time she feels a craving.
Eat naturally sweet foods
While your body is adjusting to a lower amount of refined sugar, you can continue to get your fix with natural sugars. Dried fruit is very sweet, but its sugars are natural, and it brings a wealth of vitamins and minerals to your diet. A spoonful of raisins or sultanas, or a couple of dates, apricots or figs are great options.
Try a different flavouring
Remember to drink water
It can sometimes be hard to distinguish between thirst and hunger, so make sure you’re properly hydrated. If you feel like a sugary snack, try a sip of water first.
Whether it’s a wall-chart, a chat with a supportive social-media group or some form of blatant bribery – work out what trick will keep you on the straight and narrow. You know yourself best: what will make you stick to your resolution? One useful tip is to finish every meal with just a tiny bit of a sweet treat – a handful of raisins, for instance, or a square of dark chocolate – and then quickly brush your teeth or walk around the block, to make it clear to your body that the meal (especially the pudding course) is over. Check out our magical blog Harry Potter and the Sugar-Free Lifestyle to see if we’ve got any more tricks up our sleeves!
Pudding tax? What pudding tax?
Of course, the best way to avoid paying manufacturers more for their puddings is to make your own. You’ll still need sugar, of course (or an alternative), but you can make sure that it’s the best kind and that you don’t use too much of it. Why not take a look at all our unrefined sugars here? Or click on the links here for our sugar alternatives: organic honeys, agave, date, rice and maple syrups, barley malt extract, stevia and xylitol.agave syrup, apricots, barley malt extract, childhood obesity, cinnamon, crackers, dark chocolate, date syrup, dates, dried fruit, figs, grains, maple syrup, natural sugar alternatives, natural sugar substitutes, nut butter, nutmeg, Nuts, oats, obesity, organic honey, organic sugar, Public Health England, pudding police, pudding tax, Pulses, raisins, refined sugar, Rice, rice syrup, Seeds, Stevia, sugar, sugar alternatives, sugar substitutes, sultanas, whole almonds, Wholefoods, xylitol
This post was written by Yzanne