Christmas treats: Sugar Awareness Week

The jury’s out: we’re a nation of sweet-tooths. With Christmas just around the corner, our sugar consumption is about to sky-rocket. How harmful is this to your health and how can you stay healthy this festive Season?

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Sweet treats are a staple at Christmas, right? What with chocolatey stocking fillers, selection boxes and mince pies, the sugar toll quickly racks up. Those highly-coveted Christmas coffees come laden with cream and syrup. Plus, the shops are boasting a selection of luxurious advent calendars that will send your sweet-tooth into overdrive.

The festive season is a time to indulge a bit more than normal, in the name of relaxing and letting your hair down a little. However, eating excessive amounts of sugar could be more damaging to your health than you might think.

Sugar and obesity

Consuming such excessive amounts of sugar can have serious implications on your long-term health. Sugary foods are often very calorie-dense. This means that they contain more calories than other foods of the same portion, such as fruits and vegetables. The excess calories can lead to weight gain, which can be dangerous for your health. Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes and some cancers.

Sugar and tooth decay

Sugar is one of the main causes of tooth decay. Sugary drinks and foods can cause plaque to build up on your teeth. This then leads to sensitivity, toothache and blackened appearance. For more information on tooth decay, visit the NHS website.

Being mindful of sugar this Christmas

Scrooge alert: limiting your sugar consumption this Christmas can only be a good thing.

Being mindful about your sweet treats could help kick-start your health this festive season. Avoid the post-Christmas slump by opting for healthier alternatives where possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a cheeky mince pie! But eating in moderation will help you to feel better in the short-term and stay healthy in the future. Check out our tips on keeping your sugar in check this Christmas:

1. Switch fizzy drinks for home-made festive waters

Instead of stocking up on family-packs of pop, try making your own festive waters to keep your family healthy and hydrated. Infuse water with your favourite festive fruits and spices. Our recommendations include cranberry and mint and a warming combination of orange and cinnamon. They’re quick and easy to make and look impressive on the dinner table.

2. Resist the calorific coffees

Festive beverages are becoming a staple in our Christmas routines, with big names such as Costa and Starbucks competing for the tastiest treats and the jolliest cups. Festive specials often contain lots of sugar and novelty extras such as cream and marshmallows. Opt for no cream on your morning coffee and if you fancy trying some seasonal brews, ask if they have a sugar-free option.

3. Festive baking

What better time to bake your own treats than Christmas? The internet is full of healthier recipes for cookies and cakes that can help you keep sugar to a minimum. Check out some options at BBC Food Collections. Shop-bought desserts are often full of sugar and preservatives. When you bake your own, you can control exactly how much sugar you consume. Plus, if you’re looking for a way to keep the little ones occupied through the Christmas holidays, you’re on to a winner.

4. Give and take

We all want to indulge with friends and family over the holidays, and why shouldn’t we? Enjoy your Christmas treats by being mindful of your diet over the festive season. Health is about enjoying foods in moderation. So, if you know you’ve got a weekend full of sweet treats ahead, stick to a healthier diet through the week. By eating a balanced diet, you can enjoy parties and buffets in the knowledge that you’ve been kind to your body.