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Can you go sugar free? (Just for a week)

Going sugar-free for a week can do wonders for your health. Why not give it a try with help for our sugar-free tips?

As part of Staffordshire’s Big Fat Chat, we want you and your family to try and go sugar-free for a week.

The idea is that you and the people you live with don’t eat anything that has ‘added’ sugar.

Some of us taking part will be sharing our experience on this blog and on social media.

We’d love to share your stories too, so either post your comments and experiences right here on the blog or if you prefer, write or video your own blog entries and send them over to for us to post for you.

We’d love to share your stories too, so post your comments and experiences right here.Here’s our brief guide to what “no added sugar” means and some useful tips to help make your week a success.

What does ‘no added sugar’ mean?

‘No added sugar’ means cutting out any sugar that has been added to what you eat.

This includes sugar that is added to items by a manufacturer or by you or the cook in your family when they prepare something to eat.

It also includes not eating anything with added honey, fruit nectars and syrup as well as sugar.

What doesn’t no added sugar mean?

You don’t need to worry about sugar that is contained in milk, fruit or vegetables.

The sugars in these are present in the normal growing or production of the items and are not ‘added’ at a later stage, so they can be eaten. (They also contain loads of vitamins and minerals and these are good for you).

Be careful though about eating too much dried fruit, as the drying process tends to increase the sugar content. If you do want to eat dried fruit, try and only eat it with a meal, that way it’s kinder to your teeth.

5 tips to get you and your family through a week of eating no added sugar

  1. When you do your shopping look at the ingredients of all pre-packed items. It’s amazing how many things have added sugar in them. Even some stock cubes have added sugar! Anything that lists ‘sugar’ or ‘honey’ in its list of ingredients is banned this week.
  2. It’s pretty obvious, but biscuits, cakes, sweets, jam, honey and chocolate are all banned
  3. Try cooking things like pasta sauces from the raw ingredients, that way you know that no sugar has been added.
  4. If you need a snack in between meals think about carrots, celery, peppers, seeds or nuts. These are all sugar free and really good for you.
  5. Remember – it’s only for a week and whilst it may feel like going ‘cold turkey’ it’s just a way of getting you started on a reduced sugar diet. Having done it for a week you can then alter it a bit to suit your lifestyle.

Useful websites to help cut down on sugar


Staffordshire’s Big Fat Chat is a public debate around obesity and whose responsibility it is to do something to about it. Yours? Governments? Retailers? Employers?


Leave you thoughts and comments here and join in on social media. Our Twitter hashtag is #bigfatchat


  1. Sue Palmer

    February 3, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    I’ve been mostly sugar free for a month or two now. I did it for nearly a year last year, then fell ‘off the wagon’ when I had too much stress in the Autumn and lost my will power. I think that’s contributed to increased migraines I’ve been getting since October, so I’m now off the sugar again. It’s easier this time round I think – but pretty much everything I eat has to be home made! I follow Deliciously Ella and Jason Vale, both of which are just amazing. I’d love to hear how others are getting on – there doesn’t seem to be as much support for ‘sugar free’ as there is for ‘gluten free’ (which I also mostly do) and ‘dairy free’ (which I do due to intolerance).

    • Big Fat Chat Team

      February 7, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Great to hear your story Sue. We will be adding some stories from people going sugar free on to this site at some point this week.

  2. Jewels

    February 4, 2017 at 11:21 am

    It’s ok saying “try cooking things like pasta sauce from raw ingredients ” how do you do that. It would be more helpful to give recipes (low cost). Or a list of things that are ok to eat and meal suggestions including snacks for adults and children.

    • Big Fat Chat Team

      February 7, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Thanks for your feedback Jewels. We will add more advice on the issues you raised to the site as soon as we can.

  3. Dominque

    February 10, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    The last week in January a colleague challenged me to go sugar free for February. The thought of it increased my anxiety 10 fold… I already ate sweets and crisps in secret… how on earth was I going to manage that?! There was only one thing for it… I had to start immediately weaning off the stuff. I threw myself into making homemade soups and sauces and swapped all my white stuff for wholegrain; swapped my fruity yoghurts for frozen berries and natural plain yoghurt; chucked out the Peanut Butter and replaced it with the Whole Earth brand (not keen on making my own)and so and so on. Then, before I knew it, I had cracked it. I was not craving sugar although I did have a slight fuzzy head for a few days. I am now about 3 weeks into it and I have lost 8lbs but more than that, I feel so much more alive. I had been in poor health, and although I still struggle with my health I can feel a positive improvement. My walking pace has picked up speed and my brain is no longer so foggy. And to top it all off, I am enjoying being in the kitchen cooking for my family. I know that I will definitely stick to this, I’m enjoying the changes too much to give it up. Incidentally, it has been Davina McCall that has inspired me. Good luck everyone.

    • Big Fat Chat Team

      February 10, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      That’s fabulous to hear Dominque. Glad to hear your health has improved by going sugar-free.

  4. Chris

    February 22, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    I really don’t think this is a worthwhile exercise. People know that if they want to lose weight they need to exercise more and eat less. This is just another silly ‘let’s all join together to give up sugar..’ Pathetic – we are not all stupid and this comes across as quite patronising.
    Rather than being told what to do by this ever increasing ‘nanny state’ people need to take responsibility and make good choices for themselves. This will come from excellent education which seems to be lacking these days.
    I just finish by saying that I collect grandchildren from two different primary schools and rarely see an overweight child. Rather it is teenagers who tend to be overweight and clearly they need to be encouraged to make more healthy choices for themselves. Their parents must endeavour to do this as they should be most influential in their child’s development, it is not for the state to be telling us what to do and when and how much. Guidelines are fine but not dictatorship.

    • Big Fat Chat Team

      February 22, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      Hi Chris, thanks for posting. I think education is a huge part of it and it’s interesting to hear what you said about teenagers rather than youngsters. The data we’ve got says that 1 in 5 ten year olds in Staffordshire are obese. Perhaps that’s not something you feel is the case in your community? I tried the sugar free week and learned quite a lot from it. Still going with some small changes to reduce the amount of sugar we eat as a family (although glad to say my life is no longer in danger by refusing to allow the kids the odd sweet treat 🙂

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Staffordshire’s Big Fat Chat is a public debate being run by Staffordshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board. It’s about hearing your opinions on how we should tackle obesity in Staffordshire.

We’ll use your views, alongside other research and evidence, to agree a joint plan to tackle obesity across the county.

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