- Limit added sugar wherever possible. In general, the sweeter something is, the more you can remove without having a negative taste impact.
- A simple approach to reducing sugar (and calories) is to offer smaller portions. This can be a good strategy for recipes where reducing sugars is challenging.
- Look for unsweetened ingredients. For example, choose fruit canned in juice or water instead of heavy syrup.
- Add sugar to beverages only upon request, and offer a single packet of sweetener instead of an unlimited supply. By making unsweetened coffee and tea your standard, you can reduce sugars consumed in drinks.
BE STRATEGIC ABOUT FLAVOURS
- Use flavours that are naturally associated with sweetness and enhance it’s perception. Try pineapple, strawberry, vanilla, lemon, almond, caramel, and lychee.1,2
- Use contrasting flavours to play up the sweetness. Bitterness and sourness decrease sweetness, while low levels of saltiness or umami play it up. Just be careful not to go overboard on saltiness, which can take the focus away from sweetness (think salted caramel).
FOCUS ON YOUR OTHER SENSES
Intensify the colour of red foods and drinks to increase the perception of sweetness. In studies, dark red solutions were rated sweeter than light red solutions even when they contained less sugar.3
Play with the texture of foods to take the focus away from flavour. Chopped nuts, toasted coconut, or hot or cool sauces can create an exciting sensory experience without extra sugar.
Serve foods and beverages warm instead of cold to increase perceived sweetness since temperatures can affect taste perceptions.4
You can control how much sugar you put in your own recipes, but it can also sneak in from other sources. Here’s how much added sugar is in common ingredients you might use or offer as condiments on your table. Actual counts may vary depending on serving size and product brand.
- Prescott, 1999
- Spillane, 2006
- Johnson and Clydesdale, 1982
- Green, Heat as a Factor, 1993