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I’ve always stressed the importance of intuitive eating and enjoying our food. However, it is still important to not have excessive intake of certain foods that can lead to chronic, incurable diseases. In this case, we should be mindful of our sugar intake. The word “sugar” can be a broad term, so what exactly is considered our sugar intake? Sugar intake can be split into different categories, for example: natural and added sugars. Natural sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit, milk and dairy products. On the other hand, added sugars are added to foods or beverages during the processing or preparation and are found commonly in foods such as coffee, baked goods, fruit juices, desserts etc. The most detrimental to reduce is our intake of added sugars and in this blog I’ll be sharing a few tips to do so. 

  • Try to eat foods that do not contain added sugars and are less processed:
      • Whole fruits and vegetables 
      • Whole grain products that do not have added sugars (whole grain pasta, unsweetened breakfast cereals, whole grain bread) 
      • Unsweetened dairy products or alternatives 
      • Protein-rich foods such as poultry, nuts, legumes, tofu 
  • Be aware of added sugars in the ingredient list 
      • Look for the word “sugar”
      • Look for the word syrup, agave, honey, molasses etc. 
      • Words ending with “ose” are often added carbohydrates such as maltose, dextrose, fructose 
  • Read nutrition labels 
      • In Canada, the Nutrition Facts label will have a row with “Carbohydrates”, which includes the natural sugars and the added sugars. Choose products with a lower amount of carbohydrate
      • Look for “unsweetened”, meaning it will not have any added sugar 
  • Slowly reduce the amount of added sugars found in your diet 
    • When drinking coffee or tea, use flavourings such as vanilla extract, cinnamon etc. and slowly reduce the amount of sugar added into it 
    • Drink unsweetened juices 
    • Pick foods with less added sugars (ex. Breakfast cereals without sugar – try adding fruit!) 
    • Eat fresh foods instead of instant/canned food (ex. Switch from instant oatmeal to eating fresh oatmeal with fruit, eat fresh fruits instead of dried/canned food) 
    • Try making your own sauces (salad dressing, stir fry sauces, marinades) 
    • Split desserts with other people; eat fruit; make your own dessert and reduce the sugar


This may be a lot of information to take in, start out with small changes and incorporate them into your lifestyle in a manner that doesn’t feel like you’re restricting yourself unnaturally. At the end of the day, using these tips can help to reduce our added sugar intake, and can help prevent and manage health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, helping us to feel our best. Please feel free to reach out to a dietitian for further information, meal planning and tips.