How to REALLY cut out sugar for good and feel healthier

The Vitl Nutrition Team / 22 Mar 2018

Already cut sugar from your diet? You could still be consuming too much.


In the last 30 years alone, refined sugar added to processed foods has increased by 30%. It is now pretty much universally agreed that sugar consumption is one of the major causes of the global obesity crisis. 

Here we uncover all the common but surprising hiding spots for sugar in the diet and give you some top tips on how to wean yourself off the sweet stuff for good.  

We realise we’re probably preaching to the choir but in case you want to find out more about why sugar is bad for you, check out our 3-part blog series on what sugar does to the body.

The first thing you need to realise is that it’s everywhere

You may think that by avoiding sweets, fizzy drinks, and by not adding sugar to your tea that you’ve cut sugar out of your diet. Sadly, you may still be consuming too much. 

Sugar is added to everything, and not just the sweet stuff like cake, chocolates and pastries. Some of the worst offenders include: 

  • Ready meals
  • Bread
  • Condiments
  • Salad dressings
  • Cereals (especially seemingly-healthy granolas)
  • Fruit juice and smoothies
  • Yoghurt (especially low-fat)
  • Cooking sauces
  • Dips
  • Sports drinks, protein powders & bars
  • Flavoured coffee
  • Ice tea and coffee
  • Canned soups
  • Cereal bars
  • Canned fruit & veg
  • Anything pickled (cornichons, beetroot, onions)
  • Canned baked beans

Basically, if it comes pre-made, pre-prepared, or is processed in any way, then you shouldn’t be surprised to sugar in the ingredients list. However, the problem is...

Sugar isn’t always called sugar

Yep, it’s no surprise that those big corporate food giants know what they’re doing. Sugar comes under many names, including…

Sucrose, maltose, dextrose, fructose, glucose, galactose, lactose, high-fructose corn syrup, cane juice, dextrin, maltodextrin, barley malt, beet sugar, caramel, date sugar, diastase, fruit juice, turbinado, ethyl maltol, yellow sugar and…

Anything that says it’s a syrup 

Including date, carob, corn, golden, sorghum, maple etc. The list goes on but they probably haven’t even been added to the dictionary yet. 

How to properly cut out sugar from your diet

Instead of simply trying to swap sugary snacks or foods for sugar-free options, the best way you can really fight back against the sugar monster is to reset your body’s sugar tolerance. This will help prevent sugar cravings and help you notice more easily when sugar has been added to a food.

1. Add protein and fibre to any meal or snack

This will keep you fuller for longer and will allow any carbohydrates and sugars to be released into the bloodstream more slowly.

2. Make sure you’re not lacking in any key nutrients

Magnesium, B vitamins and chromium are crucial when it comes to balancing the body’s blood sugar so taking supplements regularly can help keep these levels in check.

3. Eat fresh, whole foods

The less processed, pre-made, jarred, canned or packaged food you consume, the better. No one is expecting you to be able to swap your chocolate digestives for carrot batons overnight, but some dark chocolate or a pot of fruit is a great first step.

The more sugar you’re able to cut out from the outset, the quicker your body with adjust! 

Looking for some refined sugar-free treats to help you make the transition? Try these...
- Dairy-free chocolate mousse
- Nut-free, no-bake energy balls
- Chocolate superfood bark