Torbay’s Public Health Team is encouraging people to attempt the Sugar Smart 4 Week challenge and is providing support and tips to help people along the way. 

Being Sugar Smart is a challenge to reduce ‘free sugar’ in our diets. Those taking up the challenge can choose from four options including completely cutting out free sugar from their diet for the whole month, to trying to keep intake of free sugar to below the recommended seven teaspoons per day.

Free sugar is any sugar that is added to foods at home or by the producer, plus sugar naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices. It does not include sugar naturally present in milk or whole fruit and vegetables.

By visiting www.torbay.gov.uk/sugar-smart you can download a chart to log progress amongst colleagues, friends or family over the 4 week challenge. All you have to do is tick next to dates when you have successfully avoided free or added sugar!

Martin White from Devon Public Health attempted the challenge last year and said: “I took part in the 4 Week Sugar Smart Challenge in 2016, and I’m so glad that I did. My dental records bear testament to consuming too much sugar from an early age. I knew that too much was not good for me and I already cut down quite a bit but I still loved to eat it more often than not - cakes and bars of chocolate daily, usually while watching TV in the evenings. I also had the insight that it felt as if sugar was compulsory. It’s everywhere, even where you don’t expect it to be. Just read the labels on the packaging.”

He said on the benefits he felt: “Gradually as I got into the second week I noticed some changes. The craving wasn’t so strong, my head was clearer and I found that I was able to concentrate for longer in the day, especially in the early afternoon. I woke up in the morning feeling slightly brighter, ready for breakfast and then again later on I was ready for my evening meal. My digestive system felt more settled. My body was starting to get used to going without its regular ‘sugar fix’ and I had started to feel the benefits of going without what I originally thought of as a treat. By the end of the month I had lost half a stone, without even trying.”

Visit www.nhs.uk/change4life-beta/food-facts/sugar for more info.  This is a very useful and easy to navigate web page that helps you identify where free or added sugar is most commonly found, recommended levels for all ages as well as swaps and tips to help cut back. It also contains the Be Food Smart app than enables you to scan barcodes on packaging to find out how much sugar, saturated fat and salt is in food and drink.

Having and maintaining a healthy weight and undertaking physical activity is vital for a healthy lifestyle. Torbay Public Health Team can offer advice and local services to help you make the first step and achieve your goals. Visit www.torbay.gov.uk/healthy-weight to get started.

Cutting down or cutting out added sugar will be a challenge but the results can be amazing – a new, healthier, energised and lighter you! We are very keen to know how you have found the challenge. Have you lost weight, slept better or are there other benefits you did not expect? We would love to hear from you using #SugarSmartTorbay on Twitter and Facebook. We are always interested in ideas to help people of all ages lead healthier lifestyles, including losing weight - feel free to let us know using #SugarSmartTorbay or ring Torbay's Public Health Team on 01803 207350.


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