Sugar swaps

Sugar attracted a lot of attention last year, with the focus firmly on soft drinks, which were revealed to be jam-packed with added sugar.

A sugar tax is still being debated, but in the meantime individuals have been urged to become more sugar-savvy and keep their eye on the label.

To help you do just that, we’ve looked at some of our favourite sugar-loaded drinks and tried to find less sugary but equally delicious alternatives:

Sugar swap #1: large caramel macchiato with drizzle for green tea

Your favourite coffee – complete with syrup and sprinkles – could easily have the same amount of calories as a small meal and more than your daily allowance of sugar. The NHS recommends around 30g of sugar a day while a large caramel macchiato, for example, contains 40g of sugar.

So even if you eat or drink nothing else at all but you indulge in one sugary coffee five days a week, over the course of a year you’ll sip away 2,600g of sugar above and beyond the recommended limit. That’s around 600 teaspoons of extra sugar.

Instead, you could swap this for a no-frills latte, which has half the sugar of a caramel macchiato. Or, if you want to be really good, go for a green tea. Green tea contains zero sugar AND a study has shown that people who drink green tea regularly have better oral health than those who don’t. Perfect!

Sugar saving: 40g

Sugar swap #2: raspberry caipirinha for a martini

Sometimes the occasion calls for a cocktail. Unfortunately most cocktails call for sugar. The average raspberry caipirinha contains around 20g of sugar, and not a lot else. What’s more it’s all too easy to enjoy more than one and quickly exceed your daily allowance of sugar.

To save on sugar, take inspiration from James Bond and order a martini, or, if you’re celebrating, treat yourself to a glass of champers. Both options contain less than 3g of sugar.

Sugar saving: 17g

Sugar swap #3: cola for soda water and fruit

Cola by its different names is probably one of the most popular and notoriously sugar-filled drinks. You may have seen first-hand how it dissolves teeth, or doubles as a toilet cleaner. One single can of cola contains about 35g of sugar – that’s the equivalent of 12 sugar cubes! There’s a good reason why soft drinks are the focus of Jamie Oliver’s campaign against sugar. So, if you can make one single change to your diet, cutting out soft drinks is a great place to start.

A refreshingly fizzy alternative to cola and other high-sugar soft drinks is soda water with fresh fruit. Soda water contains no sugar, so you’ll be in control of how much sugar your drink contains. Try adding a squeeze of fresh lime or a few strawberries and your drink will still contain less than 2g of sugar.

Sugar saving: 33g

Sugar swap #4: flavoured water for coconut water

Flavoured water can seem like a much more exciting alternative to plain ol’ tap water – and there’s so many flavours to choose from. But be careful because some flavoured waters can contain 40g of sugar – more than that can of cola we just talked about.

Check labels carefully because you will be able find flavoured waters that are less hazardous on the sugar front. Or, as an alternative, try coconut water. While it contains some sugar – around 10g per glass – it’s high in antioxidants and minerals.

Sugar saving: 30g

Sugar swap #5: frozen blended coffee for an iced latte

Brace yourself: a large frozen blended coffee contains 69g of sugar. Wow! That’s over twice your recommended daily allowance – and that doesn’t even include optional whipped cream.

A far better choice is an iced latte – still coffee-flavoured and still cold, just with 54g less sugar!

Sugar saving: 54g