Article by Angela Haldane

Q. I think sugar is affecting my moods and energy levels, but what can I use instead?

A. Always ensure that you have protein at every meal, whether that be cereal and milk, eggs on toast, or salmon sandwiches. Protein has a stabilising effect on blood sugar levels and will reduce your cravings for sugar.

Eating sugar makes your blood sugar peak – giving you a boost in energy, followed by a plummet where you will feel irritable and unable to concentrate.

If you are choosing alternatives to sugar cane, try honey, fruit, dried fruit, palm sugar, corn sugar or fructose in moderate amounts. Some people have a food intolerance to sugar resulting in symptoms such as headaches, eczema etc.

Avoid artificial sweeteners – read food labels to check (sugar free) they are becoming commonly used. Use ‘stevia’, a herbal sweetener instead – available in health food shops.

If you crave sweet food, this maybe a sign of a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency is common amongst coffee drinkers, those who drink too much water (>1.5 litres/day), or suffer from stress. Other signs of magnesium deficiency are restless legs, flicky eyelids, cramps or muscular tension or an inability to relax. Do the mineral appraisal on this website – Homepage.

Sugar has many harmful effects ranging from obesity, heart disease, insulin resistance, diabetes, dental decay and many more. I am glad you have developed an awareness of the effects of sugar. Focus on regular, savoury protein foods and fresh fruit to naturally satisfy those sweet taste buds.