Sugar.

Sugar is the topic of today in terms of healthy eating. Jamie Oliver recently took part in a programme calling for a tax on sugar, and encouraged other restauranteurs to follow his lead in charging a tax on coca cola in his restaurants.

This is a great start in terms of educating people to the dangers of too much sugar. However, I would question that if he really cared that much, why wouldn’t he go a step further and stop selling coca cola in his restaurants?!

The trouble is, the companies that produce so many ‘foods’ and drinks that are full of sugar, are incredibly powerful, and spend a fortune on very effective marketing.

People have to take responsibility for what they eat and drink. Even if coca cola is sold in nearly every restaurant, it doesn’t mean you have to buy and drink it.

Sugar is an incredibly powerful substance. It is a toxin, it gives no nutritional benefit, and should be given a wide berth. Eating some sugar in your diet is okay, but the amount of sugar put into products such as cereal, bread and sauces has got out of control.

The best start you can make is to stop drinking sugary and fizzy drinks. Diet drinks are no better, they are just given a sugar substitute instead of sugar, they put in another nasty chemical, which can often bring on hunger anyway. Avoid fizzy drinks, alcohol and fruit juice. Try to stick to water, and make sugary drinks a rare treat.

Make sure you read the information of packaged food if you have to buy any pre-prepared food at all. Bread, in a loaf or in a sandwich, will often have sugar added to it these days, fruit juices are nearly all sugar, so avoid them or at least dilute them. Jars of sauces are notorious for being full of sugar, so do check the jars, and try to make your own where possible, they can be very simple and are much more delicious homemade.

Do not choose low fat foods. Healthy low fat is an old myth where years ago we were advised to eat less fat, so to keep food tasty, food manufacturers took out the fat but added sugar instead. For example, when you eat yoghurt, eat the natural kind, not low fat, as low fat usually means high sugar!

The main thing is to just be more aware of what you are eating. Try to eat foods in their natural form rather than pre-prepared, and read the nutritional information carefully. Keep the taste in your meals by including delicious, lean protein such as chicken or salmon, and good fats like creamy avocado and delicious eggs.