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Live the sweet life.. without sugar; TUESDAY; Nutritionist Sarah Flower says that families can eat happily without filling up on empty calories.

MANY of us will have overdosed on sweet treats over the festive season and now it feels even harder to cut back on sugar.

But it's not just at Christmas that we over-indulge in the sweet stuff. The average family probably consume the weight of a speedboat in sugar over the year.

Nutritionist Sarah Flower says there are easy ways the whole family can ditch their sugar addiction.

She has written several books, including The Sugar Free Family Cookbook.

She says the average family of four in the UK consumes an average of 6kg of sugar per week.

Sarah added: "Imagine putting six bags of sugar in your shopping basket every week - that is a staggering 312kg per year."

She said that, according to Siri, that's about the weight of a speedboat, a tiger, or seven Kylie Minogues.

Sarah added: "Sugar is made up of 50 per cent glucose and 50 per cent fructose but has no nutrient value. And despite what some may claim, it is not needed by the body."

She said sugar can affect our health in many ways, from obesity and diabetes. And it is hidden in many everyday items families buy, such as yoghurt and pizzas.

The World Health Organisation recommend no more than about six teaspoons of sugar a day for adults, three for kids aged four to 11 and zero for under-twos.

Sarah said "We all know there's sugar in fizzy drinks but what we don't know is the low-fat yoghurt with seven teaspoons of sugar and the 11 teaspoons in a pasta sauce."

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Do your calculations Sugar can be found in the most unexpected items such as ready meals, gravy powder, spice blends, bread and even pizza. Look at the sugar content and compare this to the serving size - 4g of sugar is a teaspoon. Try apps such as Change4life tips. Get savvy about sugar Sarah said: "Your body doesn't differentiate between refined or unrefined sugar - it is all converted in the same way. It all spikes your blood sugars." Switch Sarah said: "Switch to a natural sweetener that has no impact on blood sugars or insulin and contains zero fructose. Xylitol is available in most supermarkets and the most popular brand is Total Sweet. Or try Stevia, made from natural stevia leaf - but this is about 300 times as sweet as sugar. In liquid form, it only needs a few drops."

Reduce Opting for natural sweeteners or reducing sugar intake is easier than you think. Sarah said: "I did an experiment with a school and we reduced sugar by 10 per cent every week or two. We took it to 40 per cent before it affected the taste - no one noticed. Eat Real Food Sarah said: "Your health will dramatically improve if you cook from scratch. Processed food is often full of sugar, salt and unhealthy fats."

TOP SWAPS? Swap your sugary cereal for a cooked breakfast such as poached eggs and grilled bacon.

Eat fruit rather than drink it - the additional fibre slows down the digestion of the fructose.

Encourage your children to drink water or sugarfree cordials instead of fruit juices and never give your baby or toddler juice, especially in a bottle.

Eat natural yoghurt and combine with fresh fruit, berries, nuts and seeds.

Ditch sugary cereal bars and swap for a handful of almonds for your mid-morning snack.

Cut the sugar with Sarah's switch tips on brands: DITCH Heinz Tomato Ketchup - 22.8g of sugar per 100g (5.7tsp).

Switch to Real Good Ketchup - 5.7g of naturally occurring sugars per 100g, 0.9g per 15g serving. Ditch Hartley's Seedless Raspberry Jam - 50.8g of sugar per 100g (12.7tsp). Switch to Stute No Added Sugar Seedless Raspberry Extra Jam - 2.2g of sugar per 100g. Ditch Nutella Chocolate Hazelnut Spread - 56.8g of sugar per 100g (14.2 tsp). Switch to Jim Jams Hazelnut Chocolate Spread - 8.7g of sugar per 100g Ditch Haagen Dazs Belgian Chocolate Ice-Cream - 22g of sugar per 100ml (two scoops) serving (5.5tsp). Switch TO Oppo Ice-cream Colombian Chocolate & Hazelnut - 5.1g of sugar per 100ml (two scoops) serving. Ditch Cadburys Dairy Milk Chocolate - 56g of sugar per 100g (14tsp).

Switch to Montezuma Absolute Black Dark Chocolate - zero sugar (100 per cent cocoa content). Ditch Activia Breakfast Pot - 17.4g of sugar per 160g pot (41/2tsp).

Switch to Total Natural Yoghurt - 6.5g per 170g pot (11/2tsp) top with chopped nuts.

SUGAR-FREE SWEET TREATS SUGAR-FREE TRIPLE BERRY MUFFINS Makes 12 muffins NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION, PER SERVING: 165Kcals 11.9g fat 9.9g net carbohydrates 1.6g fibre 3.6g protein INGREDIENTS 150g butter 100g erythritol blend, xylitol (or stevia to taste) 3 eggs, beaten 175g wholemeal self-raising flour, spelt or buckwheat 1tsp baking powder 80g mixed berries (blueberries, redcurrants, raspberries etc - fresh work better than frozen) METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Mix the butter and sweetener together until light and fluffy. 2. Gradually add the eggs with a tablespoon of flour, alternating until all combined. Add the mixed berries and fold in carefully.

3. Place in muffin cases before placing on the middle shelf. 4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until firm and golden.

KEY LIME PIE Serves 8-10 NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION, PER SERVING: 427Kcals 43g fat 2.8g net carbohydrates 6.3g protein INGREDIENTS 50g butter 2 ripe avocados, mashed 4 limes, zest and juice 1 lemon zest and juice 180g cream cheese 300g extra thick double cream 1tsp gelatine powder (mixed with 75ml water) 200g nuts (such as pecan, walnut, almond, brazil, hazelnut and ground in the food processor) 1. Place the ground nuts in a bowl and add melted butter. Combine well. Place into your greased or lined flan dish. Use your fingers and press down evenly. Go around the edges to form raised sides.

2. Once flat and even, pop into the fridge to help set.

3. Place all filling ingredients into a bowl and whisk with food mixer until evenly combined.

4. Pour on to your nut base and smooth.

5. Place into fridge and leave to set (about 2 hours). You can decorate with whipped cream and slices of lime.

TOP TIP: To get the most juice out of your lime, press down and roll on the table with your hands for a few minutes.

Chocolate Tort e Serves 8 NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION, PER SERVING 378 Kcals 31g fat 9.3g net carbohydrates 6.2g fibre 11.3g protein INGREDIENTS 275g chocolate, at least 85 per cent dark chocolate 5 eggs, separated 150g erythritol blend or xylitol (or stevia to taste) 140g almond flour or ground almonds METHOD 1. Oil and line a 20cm round tin. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Melt the dark chocolate over a bain-marie or very carefully in a microwave (this take seconds).

3. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft meringue.

4. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the xylitol until light and fluffy.

5. Carefully fold in half the meringue mix to the egg yolk, gently add the chocolate, then the rest of the meringue mixture - but be careful not to deflate any air.

Finally fold in the ground almonds.

6. Pour this mixture into the tin before placing in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and keep in for another 10 minutes. 7. The torte will be cracked on top but this is as it should be. You can sprinkle with some cocoa.


TOP TIPS Sarah Flower's recipe book
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 16, 2018
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