Think you're addicted to sugar? You might be onto something, as research has found that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine.
Co-author of the paper and cardiovascular research scientist James J DiNicolantonio, told the Guardian: “In animals, it is actually more addictive than even cocaine, so sugar is pretty much probably the most consumed addictive substance around the world, and it is wreaking havoc on our health.”
But if the thought of going cold turkey on the sweet stuff leaves you feeling cold, nutritionist Rob Hobson shares seven top tips for reducing sugar the sensible way...
1. Check the label
Always check labels. Ingredients are listed in order of amount, so the nearer the top, the higher the quantity. Look for foods with green and amber traffic light labels.
2. Seek out certain ingredients
Sucrose, glucose, fructose, or anything that ends in -ose, as well as healthier sounding alternatives, such as raw sugar, barley malt, maple syrup, coconut nectar, palm sugar, agave nectar, date sugar and brown rice syrup are among sugar's many guises.
3. Take your time
If you're a sugar addict, cut the amount you add to cereals, pancakes, tea or coffee by half. Once you've got used to the taste, halve the amount again.
4. Sweet food swaps
Try sweetening foods with a little fresh or dried fruit or go for 'sweet food options' that are fruit based. A slice of malt loaf has a quarter of the sugar content and twice the fibre of a chocolate cookie.
5. Include proteins and fats
A Mediterranean diet, with protein from fish, lean meat, cheese and yoghurt and healthy fats mainly from olive oil, nuts and seeds, will keep you more satisfied between meals, which in turn means you are less likely to reach for the biscuit tin.
6. Get spicy
Flavour foods that you would normally sweeten with sugar, with spices. Try ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon.
7. Don't be a softie
Soft drinks are some of the biggest offenders in boosting sugar intake. But shop-bought smoothies, energy drinks, fruit juices, iced teas, coffees and flavoured waters can all be sugar-laden too.