Expert offers advice on how to cut down on sugar during Lent

We are rapidly approaching the midpoint of Lent, so this article will give advice on how giving up your favourite sweet treats can benefit your body and mind.

Lent is a period of 40 days during which Christians remember the events leading up to and including the death of Jesus Christ – named after an old English word meaning ‘lengthen’. 

Christians see Lent as a time for prayer and penance, but non church-goers can also participate in the practice, and most people will be cutting down on sweets, takeaways and bad habits.

Here are some top pieces of advice on how to cut down sugar in the time of Lent, from Holly Zoccolan, Nutritional Health Coach & Founder of The Health Zoc.

She said: “Reducing your sugar intake helps with consistent energy levels throughout the day.

“This is because it reduces blood sugar spikes and helps to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

“Having a balanced blood sugar level can help lower weight, reduce food cravings and help to maintain a healthy metabolism.

“Instead of eating simple carbohydrates such as flour and sugar, we want to ensure that we are keeping our blood sugar levels balanced by eating healthy meals which help keep our blood sugar levels in check and prevent excess weight gain, fatigue and brain fog.

“Simple carbohydrates are composed of various forms of sugar, such as glucose, fructose, and fruit sugar. Since they can be easily metabolised, they are most likely to cause an insulin spike. 

“This is why we want to be eating a balanced plate at every meal which includes protein, fats and fibre, as well as complex carbohydrates, to avoid a blood sugar spike and crash.

“It’s important to be aware of where hidden sugars sit, especially liquid sugar! 

“For example, processed foods. There is often high sugar content in processed foods like bread, ketchup, soups, salad dressing, canned fruit, peanut butter.

“Another example is fat free foods, where sugar is added to replace the flavour that is lost when the fat is removed. 

“The simplest way to stabilise your blood sugar within the normal range is to eat fat, protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates with each meal.

“Fat has less of an impact on blood sugar levels than carbohydrates and can help with satiety, too. When fats are eaten with a meal, they slow down the absorption of the meal which helps with blood sugar spikes.

“Protein helps to keep our blood sugar levels slow and steady, as well as making our stomachs fuller for longer.

“Eating protein as part of a meal therefore helps with blood sugar regulation and again helps to avoid a blood sugar spike.”

We hope these tips help you on your journey this Lent, and that you successfully look after your own body and mind.

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