8 tips for reducing sugar in your diet

There’s no official figure, but UK labelling uses a guideline (target) of 90g per day based on a 2,000 calorie/day diet, which is 18% of total calories from all sugars – added AND naturally occurring – this is the target Nutracheck uses. What’s most important is the SOURCE of sugar in your diet. We should be trying to get most from foods with naturally occurring sugars, not added. Sugars within foods such as fruits, vegetables and milk come with a whole host of other nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Try the following…

Tip 1.

Switch to sweetener in tea & coffee (or cut out sugar altogether if you can)

Tip 2.

Opt for no added sugar soft drinks or just stick to water

Tip 3.

Limit your intake of high sugar foods such as sweets, chocolate and cakes

Tip 4.

Choose lower sugar cereals such as Weetabix, Shredded Wheat and porridge – add fresh fruit for sweetness

Tip 5.

Choose unflavoured yogurts and add fresh fruit for taste

Tip 6.

Check the label on readymade meals, sauces and soups for unexpected sugars

Tip 7.

Aim to get your sweet tastes from fruits, vegetables and milk sugars e.g. yogurt, to get added nutritional benefits

Tip 8.

Limit portion size and frequency of dried fruit – it contains natural sugar, but as it is dried, it’s a condensed source

Sugar in your diet should come mostly from natural sugars in food, try to limit added sugars…


Foods with natural sugars

Foods with added sugars


Fresh fruit










Sugary cereals




Sugary drinks


Some sauces

Note! Some foods may contain a combination of natural and added sugars, such as flavoured yogurts, cereals with added fruit and ready meals.


  • Helen Lashwood says:

    Hi Emma, your piece on cutting down on sugar for diet and better living was very interesting.
    I am trying to follow the 5:2 healthier living plan and I am not a big fruit fan, never have been unfortunately. It’s more through boredom that I reach for sweets and sugary food I think.
    I have started running again recently and I am starting to tone up, but am not losing as much weight as I would like. Could you give me any further advice on cutting back on sugar that doesn’t mean eating a lot of fruit ?
    Kind regards

  • Jean McCann says:

    Yes I totally agree I’ve been on the Nutra check diet for some time and have gained a stone and more just by eating toffee which is laden with sugar.It got to the point that it was making me feel ill,it took me quite a while to get my head back round to thinking about dieting again,but I kept my Membership going and I am glad to say that I am now back on track and have joined the 60 day challenge ,so I realised that it is motivation that I require x

    • Emma Clarke Nutracheck Nutritionist says:

      Hi Helen,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It’s not uncommon to find we reach for a sweet treat through boredom, but there are certainly things you can do to try and combat this. I’m not sure if you’ve seen the Food Triggers part of our website? This offers tips on avoid things such as eating out of boredom.

      To find our tips on this, log in to the website and click on the Food Triggers link above your diary. Click on the ‘Boredom’ option and an article will appear with tips.

      Regarding sugar, the thing we should all be trying to cut down on is added sugars in things like cakes, biscuits, sweets and sugary drinks. It’s also found in some processed foods such as ready meals, sauces and cereals, so it’s important to be aware of these and to check the labels on packaging to help you pick the best option.

      It’s fine to have a little sweet treat a day if you enjoy this, but try and limit portion sizes. So have a fun size chocolate bar after dinner or just a couple of squares of dark chocolate.

      Throughout the day try to opt for wholegrain carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals (e.g. porridge/Weetabix), lean protein such as chicken, fish, lean meat, eggs and low fat dairy products and good fats in things like olive oil, avocados and nuts. As well as this try to eat plenty of fresh vegetables, and any fruit you do enjoy. Limit your intake of processed foods and try to cook from scratch as much as possible, so you know what’s in your food. Limit sauces such as ketch-up or some readymade pasta sauces, as these have a lot of added sugar. Instead make your own sauces using passata, chopped tomatoes and herbs for example.

      The key to limiting added sugars is to eat whole real foods and to make your own meals from these. It’s processed and pre-packaged foods that tend to have lots of added sugar, so limiting these will really help.

      I hope this helps.

      Nutracheck Nutritionist

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