As someone who's tried to give up sugar, I'll put my hand up, it's hard. Really really hard. But Nutritionist health coach Madeline Shaw - whose food philosophy is all about "enlivening the hottest, happiest and healthiest you" - is here to help us give up the white stuff.
The nutritional health coach (who'll be hosting a talk at the Glamour Beauty Festival this weekend) believes that saying goodbye to sugar is all about maintaining your blood sugar levels, and when we interviewed Madeleine, we were desperate to know one thing: is chocolate ever ok?
But let's face it, we all know that to maintain a lean physique and feel good in our bodies, we should be consuming less sugar. You've just got to look at what's in our daily coffee orders to realise the situation is getting pretty bad. Sugar is hidden in almost everything. And to make it worse, it's not always labeled sugar - it can be hidden as high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice, fruit, honey or agave, but this is all still sugar.
However, fear not because we've got Madeleine's tips to tame your sugar cravings...
Sugar appears to be public enemy number one these days. Would you agree? How does it affect us (e.g, skin/health/mood)?
It can affect loads of things! Firstly when your blood sugar levels are low, it makes you feel tired and grouchy so you reach for the nearest sugary thing to get your energy levels up and so the process begins again!
As well as your energy levels and mood, it can affect your skin - causing breakouts and even ageing. Sugar can cause your insulin levels to spike which leads to inflammation around the body. Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen, so sugar can also cause you to age quicker.
Adele says she lost weight thanks to quitting her sugary tea - can we do small steps like that or should we ditch sugar entirely? What do you recommend when someone says they want to quit?
Of course! I always say begin with making natural substitutions. Swap white sugar for coconut sugar or honey - they have a low GI which means they release energy slowly rather than spiking your blood sugar levels like refined sugar does. If you're finding it hard to stop eating biscuits and cakes come 4pm, try swapping for an apple or a handful of berries! The fibre will keep you fuller for longer than a piece of cake and you'll get the nutritional benefits as well. Did you know that five strawberries have more vitamin C than an orange?! Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are all amazing in colour and you can be sure that you're filling yourself with lots of antioxidants.
What do you suggest when you just HAVE to have something sweet?! (e.g. Is dark chocolate okay?)
I'm all for chocolate! Dark chocolate (at least 70%) or good quality chocolate is perfect. There are even some tasty chocolates out there made with coconut milk and coconut sugar so if you really can't stand dark chocolate you can get a fix and still keep on track with quitting sugar.
What about those with a sweet tooth - can you re-train your cravings?
Of course, as I said swapping up sugary snacks for fruit, and swapping crisps for crudites and homemade hummus is the way forward. You'll feel full and over time you won't even miss your old habits!
Do your celebrity clients struggle to end their love affair with sugar?
Of course, we've all been there - we feel stressed so we reach for the nearest pack of sweeties, or we feel tired and need a sugar pick me up. I'm all about balance so if you really need that piece of chocolate cake - go for it! Just savour and enjoy it - and whatever you do don't feel guilty about it. Guilt is half the problem when quitting sugar, and you think you've undone all your hard work. One piece of cake every now and again isn't a bad thing.
What are your thoughts on the government's sugar tax proposal?
I think it's great! The amount of sugar sneaking into our diets has gotten out of control and hopefully this will help cut it down.
If we all changed ONE thing about a diets, what should it be?
More green veggies!
So, you're faced with someone whose good intentions are being eroded by lack of time! They've come home from work and are tempted to reach for a ready meal/order a takeaway - what easy supper should they make instead?
There are plenty of quick and easy meals in my book and on . I love making chilli and bolognaise in big batches and freezing them so that if I'm ever tired I've got something so tasty and healthy in the freezer that I can just defrost! Other easy suppers include lots of fresh berries! I have my sweet potato soup with blackberry and basil sauce, honey roasted celeriac, quinoa and raspberries and roasted pumpkin, blueberries and spiced lentils. I've also got a delicious recipe using aubergines which I like to roast, then I add yoghurt, blueberries and parsley which makes a gorgeous salad.
Order Madeline's book, and download her .
Scroll down for some more of Madeleine's tips...