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Sugar and Salt Intake: Your Path to a Healthier Lifestyle

Sugar and Salt Intake

In a world brimming with tempting treats and savoury delights, it's easy to lose sight of the impact of sugar and salt on our health.

These two ingredients, often used generously in the food industry, can sneakily creep into our diets, leading to a range of health issues. But fear not, for this article is your guide to understanding how to reduce on salt and sugar intake and discover alternatives that you can have to live a healthy lifestyle.

Sugar

High sugar intake is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. The first step to reducing sugar intake is knowing that  it appears as a different name on the ingredients listed on food labels. Dextrose, sucrose, maltose and glucose are some of the common names of sugar.

Reference intakes on food labels are an advisory and not a goal. The maximum daily intake of total sugar for an adult is 90g, this includes natural sugars from milk and fruit, as well as added sugar.

How to Limit on Sugar

  • Read Labels: Always check food labels and choose products with lower added sugar content.
  • Limit Sugary Drinks: Replace sugary drinks and fruit juices with water, herbal tea, or sparkling water with a splash of citrus.
  • Opt for Natural Sweeteners: Use natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup in moderation.
  • Private Medical Insurance: Have access to 2,300 offers to help you shop healthier.

Delicious Sugar-Free Alternatives

  • Swap Sugary Cereals: Choose unsweetened whole-grain cereals and add fresh fruit like berries, apples, and oranges for extra sweetness.
  • Yogurt with Berries: Mix plain yogurt with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey.
  • Dark Chocolate: Choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content for a sweet yet healthier treat.
  • Diet Coke: A 330ml can of cola includes 35g of sugar – swap for a diet coke.

Simple food swaps can help you reduce your sugar intake and help improve your health. Check out our blog on 10 healthy food swaps.

Salt

Salt (sodium chloride), is an essential nutrient, but too much of it can cause issues for your health. Excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. The main source of excessive salt in our diets often comes from processed foods and restaurant meals.

Salt is an essential part of our diet as it helps our bodies balance fluid levels as well as keeping our nerves and muscles functioning.

Adults should only eat a maximum of 6g of salt a day (but ideally less) and Children shouldn’t eat more than 5g of salt. Babies recommended limit is much lower at 1g under the age of one.

How to Limit Salt

  • Cook at Home: Preparing meals at home allows you to control the amount of salt in your dishes.
  • Use Herbs and Spices: Enhance the flavour of your food with herbs, spices and citrus instead of salt.
  • Read Labels Carefully: Opt for reduced slat salt or no added salt on a packet.
  • Healthy Habits: Don’t put extra salt on the dinner table, you’ll be less tempted to add more.
  • Private Healthcare: Gives you access to Health and Wellbeing services for extra support.

Delicious Salt-Free Alternatives

  • Fresh Herbs: Basil, cilantro, and rosemary add flavour without the sodium.
  • Lemon and Lime: Squeeze these citrus fruits over your dishes to brighten flavours.
  • Homemade Sauces: Get rid of sauce jars, try making a Bolognese or a curry from scratch using fresh herb and spices.
  • Trade Salty Snacks: Opt for air-popped popcorn or roasted nuts without added salt.

The Art of Meal Preparation

Preparing balanced meals at home is the ultimate solution to controlling your sugar and salt intake. Here are some meal prep tips:

  • Plan Your Meals: Use our free weekly meal planner template and a focus on fresh, whole ingredients.
  • Batch Cooking: Cook large batches of meals and freeze them in portions for later use.
  • Mindful Eating: Pay attention to portion sizes and savour your meals.

Keep a food diary to track your sugar and salt intake. Apps like MyFitnessPal {link to app} can help you monitor your daily consumption and set achievable goals.

As you make progress in reducing sugar and salt, celebrate your achievements. Reward yourself with non-food treats, such as a relaxing bath, a new book, or a movie night with loved ones.

Reducing sugar and salt intake is a journey toward better health and well-being. Armed with knowledge, smart choices, and delicious alternatives, you can take control of your diet. With our private health insurance cover you will have access to our heath and wellbeing services for more support.

Remember, small changes can lead to significant improvements. Savour the sweet taste of success on your path to a healthier lifestyle.

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