These 4 sugar swaps are sure to boost your heart health!

These 4 sugar swaps are sure to boost your heart health!

February is Heart Health month and globally people want to cut the sugar, slash the coffee syrups, and forgo the sugary drinks, as sugar tops the desired list of must-ditch foods this year.

A sugar-laden diet may raise your risk of heart disease even if you aren’t overweight. The higher the intake of added sugar the higher the risk for heart disease. 

Diets high in added sugar are also linked to belly fat, also known as visceral fat which wraps around your abdominal organs. Too much belly fat is also linked to chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease.

Deciding to cut back on your added sugar intake is no easy task. Despite our best intentions, the average person is consuming more than double the amount of their recommended daily sugar intake. Hidden added sugars especially in savoury foods (like pasta sauces, tomato paste) is one of the reasons. Some of the foods we eat or drink every day — flavoured yoghurt, flavoured coffees, sweetened granola, and non-dairy milks — have more sugar than you might expect.

While our bodies needs a small amount of sugar, consuming excessive amounts can lead to weight gain which can impact on your health. It can also increase your risk of developing a chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, blood pressure and heart disease. Luckily, there are some simple swaps you can take to reduce the amount of added sugar you consume.

So, this month, take the pledge by picking one swap and sticking with it! Check the progress of your health with the Doctor’s Health + Weight Tracker APP - you may be surprised as to how much of an impact you are making on your health by simply swapping out even just one for a healthier alternative.

Here are 4 of the Doctor backed sugar swap ideas that can help:

1. Try fat-free Greek-style Yoghurt + Honey instead of Flavoured Yoghurt


Flavoured yoghurts with high amounts of added sugar can contain up to 16 grams in one single serve tub. Swap this out for some fat free Greek style yoghurt with a teaspoon of honey for only 6 grams of added sugar.

If you normally consume one tub of flavoured yoghurt daily (containing 16g of added sugar), and then switched to fat-free Greek style yoghurt or natural low-fat yoghurt with a teaspoon of honey, this could save you roughly 14,600 calories annually. This adds up to about 1.8kgs lost each year.

2. Try unsweetened granola instead of sweetened granola

Sweetened granola can have a surprising amount of added sugar. If you are eating it as a topping (approx. ⅓ cup) or as cereal for breakfast (3/4 cup), added sugar can be 6g to 15g or more. There is a delicious variety of an unsweetened granola that is now available that has no added sugar that you can try. 

Simply consuming unsweetened granola instead of the sweeter granola alternative could mean saving up to 21,900 calories over a year or over 2.7kgs lost of sugar for the cereal portion!

Doc Tip: If you're eating granola with a meal, try to make sure there is 6g or less of added sugar in total. You check this by reading the nutrition information on the label.

3. Try unsweetened dairy free milk

Dairy free milk (for example, almond, soy or cashew) can have a lot of added sugar if you choose one that is sweetened. The sugar content tends to range from 3 grams to 13 grams of added sugar! Make sure to read your labels carefully and select an unsweetened option with 0 added sugar on the nutrition facts label.

Making this change daily for a year would mean about 18,980 fewer calories from added sugar and about 2.2kgs lost!

You can also try swapping your sugary drinks for a glass of sparkling water or swapping your coffee made with whole milk to a coffee with skim milk.

4. Try coffee + honey rather than flavoured coffee 

Did you know that a standard sized caramel coffee can have up to 46 grams of sugar. This equals 10 teaspoons of added sugar. Adults should reduce their intake of sugar to less than 10% of their total daily energy intake. On average, this equals about 11 teaspoons (50 grams) of sugar per day for an adult. This means that in one standard sized caramel coffee, this is almost all of the daily intake of added sugar per day of an average adult.

If you find yourself at a coffee shop where honey is the offered alternative, you could save about 58,240 calories if done daily for a year. This means a weight reduction of about 7kgs over a year!

Doc Tip: Try swapping your caramel coffee for any standard sized coffee with a teaspoon of honey instead for only 6g of added sugar.

Even if you're already at a healthy weight, reducing your intake of added sugar can help keep your blood pressure, and cholesterol at healthy levels. This can also decrease your risk for heart disease and other linked chronic diseases.

For your long-term health, reaching for alternatives which have no-added sugar, such as sparkling water, seasonal fruits, and vegetables can help you manage your weight, reduce belly fat and improve your heart health.

If you're ready to take the plunge and transform your health, book in with your nearest prescribing Doctor to improve your health for life! To find out more on how to get started, click here

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