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Free your family from the sugar addiction!


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Sugar is known by some as “the new tobacco,” with calls from some health professionals for sugar to be treated by the government like alcohol and tobacco.

The fact is that sugar is an addiction. The maximum recommended daily intake of sugar is six teaspoons per day: the average Kiwi consumes more than 29 teaspoons. Sugar has no nutritional value – the body doesn’t need it. Eating too much sugar is seriously bad for us, leading to a multitude of health problems like obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.


The 2013/2014 New Zealand Health Survey found that one in three New Zealand children is overweight or obese. Studies show that 20 per cent of the obesity problem can be linked to exercise, while the remaining 80 percent is connected to what a person eats.

Turning off the desire for sugar-rich foods can be tricky, but we can change our palates and reduce the cravings by eating less of it. Sugar is hidden in all sorts of foods, some more obvious than others – donuts, cereals, cereal bars, yoghurt, soft drinks, sweets and sauces.

It may seem a difficult feat to cut down your family’s sugar intake, but here are some simple steps you can take:

•    Make up a dinner plate half with fruit or vegetables, quarter with foods like potatoes, bread or rice, and the rest with protein-rich foods such as meat or fish. Use sauces that are low in sugar, or make your own.
•    For snacks, chop fresh fruit, vegetables and low fat cheese. Try fruit smoothies, low-fat yoghurt, hard-boiled eggs, low-sugar or sugar-baking, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. Limit your family’s junk food intake to one small item per day, e.g., a snack-sized bag of chips.
•    Offer plenty of water and low-fat milk to drink, rather than juice or soft drink.

Starting your family on a low-sugar or sugar-free diet is one of the best things you could do for their health. Overcoming a sugar addiction can lead to less cravings, happier moods, higher confidence levels, and better health in general.

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