The 4 festive foods you didn’t know were packed with sugar

Dr Nighat warns of high sugar content in children's cereals

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Christmas time means everyone has a licence to indulge a little more than usual. But for some people, with health conditions including type 2 diabetes, they need to stay mindful of their sugar consumption all year round. This doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself the occasional treat, but you should make sure you’re aware of hidden sugars in popular Christmas foods.

Eating too much sugar can have far-reaching side effects, such as tooth decay, becoming overweight and placing you at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Your recommended daily limit for sugar is around 30 grams, but when sugar is hidden in foods, it can be difficult to keep track of how much sugar you’re consuming.

While it might be easier to stop putting teaspoons of sugar in your tea, for example, other sources of sugar are hiding in the foods you eat.

As it’s the Christmas period, some indulgence is not only expected but encouraged.

However, you should stay vigilant of your sugar intake, as it can have serious health consequences.

Here are four festive foods with shocking amounts of hidden sugar.

Festive hot drinks

Your festive favourites from the high street can be packed with more sugar than a dessert in some cases.

A grande mint hot chocolate from Caffe Nero, for example, contains 63 grams of sugar in a single serving, when made with semi-skimmed milk.

For perspective, that’s more sugar than two Mars bars.

A medium Terry’s Chocolate Orange hot chocolate from Costa Coffee, made with semi-skimmed milk, contains 42 grams of sugar.

Starbucks’ Fudge Brownie Hot Chocolate contains 51.4 grams of sugar, based on a grande sized beverage.

These drinks should be saved for a very occasional treat, rather than an everyday snack!

Mulled wine

Although the origins of mulled wine lie in Ancient Roman times when they believed hot and spiced wine had medicinal properties, today’s sugary mulled wine doesn’t have the same healthy credentials.

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Many pre-prepared bottles of mulled wine from the supermarket are high in sugar and those you buy at a Christmas market will often have extra added sugar, honey or syrup.

Mulled wine is delicious and the high sugar content shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the odd glass over the festive period.

However, if you have to watch your sugar intake, be careful drinking mulled wine.

Cranberry sauce

A Christmas classic, cranberry sauce can add heaps of sugar to your Christmas dinner, without you even realising.

Some jars of cranberry sauce can be scarily high in sugars, with some containing as much as four grams of sugar per teaspoon.

To reduce the sugar content in your cranberry sauce, without missing out on the flavour, try making your own.

Diabetes UK has this fantastic recipe for a low-sugar cranberry sauce.

Honey-glazed vegetables

Roasting some of your Christmas vegetable dishes in honey can make for a luxurious side dish, but it can also add even more sugar to your plate before dessert has even arrived at the table.

If you plan on honey-roasting vegetables for Christmas dinner, maybe offer a honey-free alternative too.

Or look at using other seasonings to roast your vegetables in mustard, olive oil and even cumin can make delicious marinades to liven up your vegetables.

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