480 words, approx 3 minutes to read.

Reducing your sugar intake can be hard. But Co-op assistant diet and health manager Aoife McKernan shares clever swaps, useful tips and small changes that will help you moderate your sugar consumption, while still enjoying delicious food at every meal.  

Why is it important for us to be aware of how much sugar we are eating?

‘Too much sugar is bad for our health. If you eat too much of it, it can lead to obesity and tooth decay, along with other health issues. Being aware of how much you’re eating is important, to make sure you’re keeping on top of your consumption. NHS guidelines suggest no more than 30g per day for adults, which is about seven teaspoons – not a lot when a can of Coca-Cola contains nine!’

What are some easy ways to eat less sugar?

‘It doesn’t have to be difficult! You could try topping your cereal with fruit instead of sugar, switch up your snacking to include savoury options, such as rice cakes or plain popcorn, and swapping your fizzy drinks for water flavoured with lemon, lime or mint.’

How can I choose lower-sugar products?

‘Sugar can definitely sneak in without you realising. Hot drinks, packaged sauces, breakfast cereals and yogurts can all contain more sugar than we need. Check the labels of products to compare sugar levels, and look out for products with the green traffic light, as that means it’s low in sugar.’

What are some lower-sugar breakfast ideas?

‘Switching to a lower-sugar breakfast cereal is a great start. Go for porridge or wheat biscuits and get creative with the toppings: grated apple, prunes and berries are all tasty alternatives to honey.’

Head to our recipe site more inspiration. Carrot cake porridge is a delicious option, or you could try ham and mustard hash with fried eggs, veggie cooked breakfast or a quick and spicy kedgeree.

What about tasty lower-sugar lunches for eating during work?

‘If you’re making a lunchtime pasta bake, try using canned tomatoes to make your own sauce instead of a ready-made one, which may contain added sugar. Take unsalted nuts or oatcakes to snack on, but if you haven’t got time to make lunch, look out for products labelled with a green traffic light.’

There are lots of lower-sugar lunch ideas on the Co-op recipe site. Flourless spinach and egg muffins are a great option, as is Moroccan-spiced soup and our veggie scrap Buddha bowl. To keep hunger pangs at bay, try tortilla chips with red pepper houmous or roasted spiced chickpeas

Plenty of people crave something sweet after dinner. What are some ways to stay away from sugar-laden dessert?

‘It’s important to treat yourself occasionally – giving up sugar altogether is unrealistic. Try swapping milk or white chocolate for a couple of squares of dark for a sweet hit, or give unsweetened yogurt and fruit a go for a simple, but delicious, lower-sugar pudding.’

Are there any alcoholic drinks that are particularly high in sugar?

‘Cocktails can be tricky, as they often contain sugary mixers. If you want to cut back but still enjoy a tipple, opt for spirits like rum, gin or vodka mixed with diet tonic and diet soft drinks.’

Check out Co-op’s healthy recipes here for more inspiration. And for more tips on sugar reduction visit our website here.

Aoife McKernan
Co-op Assistant Diet and Health Manager

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Join the conversation! 21 Comments

  1. Very nice, thank you for your kind feedback. ^Abid

  2. Hi. Is there a particular Co-op store you’re referring to? Regards. ^Karen

  3. Really helpful and informative

  4. Hi Simon. We’re committed to reducing sugar in Co-op products, and have removed over 582 million teaspoons of sugar from Co-op products. Find out more here – https://coop.uk/37kqy7q” ^Faisal

  5. It’s good to see the Co-op highlighting the dangers of sugar, but why is the Co-op still using sugar in some of its own baked products? The Co-op, as an organisation which takes a pride in being ethical, should take a lead in making its own foods sugar free, and stop selling sugary products marketed by the junk food industry which cares only about its own profits.

  6. Well said

  7. Why not sell sugar free products biscuits, sweets and print sugar free recipes

  8. Great work 🙂 ^Faisal

  9. Why don’t co-0p sell more less sugar items ie Baked beans, marmalade &jams , ice cream etc all these are be produced

  10. I would rather have a little sugar than have lots of juices for example that state no sugar added . If there is no sugar then the sweetness is usually aspartame and I dont want to put that stuff in my system

  11. Carrot cake porridge hyperlink doesn’t work error 404

    • I agree, ‘carrot cake porridge’ link doesn’t work, but if you enter this into co-op search you will get the recipe.

  12. Excellent tips! Thank you. It is so difficult to cut back on sugar, but this is really helpful.

  13. In my local CO-OP so many of the products have a high added sugar content.

  14. Great tips. Keep up the good work. 👍

  15. Such great tips! Love the post xx

  16. Thank you for info.but am already restricting sugar intake, also as a vegetarian have also saved many animals from untimely deaths.


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