Last week, I gave up sugar, which is not as bad as it sounds, as I eat very little sugar anyway, being more of a savoury person, although I do like a home-made cake or biscuit! Also, with being on the 5:2 diet, sugar doesn’t feature much in my day-to-day meals, and I gave up sugar on tea and coffee a long time ago, but, it’s not just the obvious food that has sugar in it, such as cakes, pastries, biscuits (cookies), sweeties, chocolate and most baking; sugar is added to most ready meals and commercial products. The list is frightening…..as you will see from the list below, there’s even sugar added to water!
Hidden Sugar in Food:
Low-fat and “diet” food will have hidden sugar to enhance the taste and flavour
Ready-made pasta sauces
Dry sauce and seasoning mixes
Hot drink mixtures, such as hot chocolate
Ketchups and sauces in general
Tinned vegetables and tomatoes
Pot noodles and instant noodles
Crisps (seasoning mix on the crisps)
So, it was an easy choice for me when giving up sugar, cook my own meals and ditch the diet yoghurts etc. I tend to make my own sauces anyway, but pasta sauces are so useful to have on hand, as are instant soups, salad cream, sauces and baked beans of course. I found myself looking at every label I had on every tin and packet in my pantry (and freezer) and I was astounded to see just how much “hidden sugar” there is in ready-made foods. One of the recipes I made last week was for a home-made Mexican sauce, Enchilada Sauce; my recipe has NO sugar in it, but a ready-made sauce by a leading brand had a gob-smacking 9.4g of sugar per 100g of sauce!
Pasta sauces and cooking sauces are also very high in hidden sugars, and I suspect it’s the hidden sugar that has so many of us “hooked” on a certain brand……it’s just so easy to make a sauce at home too, as many of them are tomato based and just require whizzing up with onions, garlic, herbs and spices in a food processor. The week was interesting, as I also had to give up my nightly treat of a “low-calorie” (but high in sugar!) hot chocolate drink, as well as all of my “low-fat” yoghurts I eat for breakfast on a 5:2 diet fast day. Although fruit is good for you, I also steered away from eating too much fruit over the week too, especially fruit juices which are laden in extra sugar.
The week without sugar was very easy, mainly due to the fact that I do cook most of my own meals from scratch and use very few ready-made sauces etc. But, we did miss our weekend “sweet treat”, so I made a healthy recipe from the Canderel UK site for Chewy Oat, Berry and Orange Cookies, however, I adapted it slightly to make rock cakes instead of cookies and added a whole egg to the recipe, in place of egg whites as well as omitting the maple syrup. My adapted recipe is shared below, and my “rock cakes” turned out a treat, and were the only sweet things we had eaten all week, so I think we did very well.
So, are you up for the #SweetSmart challenge? Could you cut out sugar from your diet for at least a week or longer? I’d be fascinated to know if any of my readers are up for the challenge, do let me know if you do give up sugar and how you got on! That’s all for today, have a great week, Karen
*Commissioned work paid for by Canderel UK*
(This post is NOT endorsing the use of sugar substitutes and I have not suggested my readers use sugar substitutes. All views and opinions are my own and are not representative of Canderel)
Oat, Berry & Orange Rock Cakes Recipe:
(Makes 6 to 8 rock cakes)
100g SR flour
85g rolled oats
50g mixed dried berries
2 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tbsp finely grated orange zest
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
125g butter, melted
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
1. Heat the oven to 180C/gas 4.
2. Tip all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Melt the butter and pour over the dry mix. Then add the beaten egg and mix everything together.
3. Use a spoon to place dollops of the dough onto a non-stick baking sheet, to form a little “rock” shapes.
4. Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 15 to 20 mins, or until lightly browned and cooked through.