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How to reduce your sugar intake

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight through a nutritious diet and physical activity can reduce the risk of lifestyle-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease. However, changes in our food supply can make this more difficult to achieve, especially due to the increase in the sugar content of our diet.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently released guidelines on sugar consumption and health – specifically on overweight/obesity and dental health. Sugars do not only include what we add to tea or coffee, but also natural occurring sugars found in fruit and milk products, as well as simple sugars added to foods like soft drinks, cakes, sauces and even breakfast cereals.

How much sugar is in our foods?

Food item

Sugar content

%Energy from sugar

375mL can Coca Cola

40g or 8 teaspoons


500mL bottle of fruit juice

28g or 6 teaspoons


1 cup Nutri-grain cereal

13g or 2.5 teaspoons


2 Weetbix biscuits

1g or 0.2 teaspoons


1 tbsp BBQ sauce

11g or 2 teaspoons


1 choc chip muesli bar

7.5g or 1.5 teaspoons


40g sultanas

29g or 6 teaspoons


1 tub of reduced fat fruit yoghurt

26g or 5 teaspoons


*1 teaspoon = 5g.

Wondering how much physical activity you need to do to burn off that soft drink? Click here to find out!

What can I do to reduce my sugar intake?

WHO recommends that sugars make up less than 10% of our total energy intake each day.  For most adults, this is equivalent to less than 10-12 teaspoons of sugar each day.

Reducing your sugar intake is easy with a few small changes. Why not try:

  • Swapping a sugar sweetened beverage like soft drink or cordial to a reduced or no sugar alternative
  • Choosing “no added sugar” alternatives for foods like yoghurt and sauces
  • Reducing dried fruit or fruit juices. Try to choose whole fruit or canned fruit in juice instead.
  • Check labels to compare brands. Remember that “sugars” listed on the nutrition panel include natural occurring sugars in fruit and dairy foods. Check the ingredients list for added sugars like white, raw or brown sugar, glucose, molasses, corn syrup or maltose.

But what about artificial sweeteners?

There is currently no strong scientific evidence to suggest that artificial sweeteners such as Equal or Sweet’N’Low or other non-nutritive sweeteners like Stevia have a detrimental effect on overall health. These can be useful tools to reduce our sugar (and calorie) intake each day.

Want to know more?

Accredited Practising Dietitians are nutrition experts. They can help you find ways to decrease your sugar intake and improve the quality of your diet, so that it is easier to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. You can book an appointment with one of our APDs at the Mater Health & Wellness Clinic. Contact 3163 6387 to book today. Don’t forget, if you are a staff member you are eligible for a 10% discount on all consultations.


Level 1, Mater Corporate

Services Building

Raymond Terrace

South Brisbane Qld 4101