A sugar-heavy diet can have a dramatic impact on our health and wellbeing. As a nation, we are consuming a vast amount of the white, sweet granules in our daily diet - and this may be contributing to weight gain, diabetes and other illnesses. The World Health Organisation recommends just 6 teaspoons of sugar per day.

10 Lower Sugar Food Swaps

10 Lower Sugar Food Swaps

Some foods and drinks that we perceive to be good for us, are actually hiding a high sugar content - even reading the label doesn't always make it clear. To help reduce your sugar intake, Dr Sally Norton, weight loss consultant at Spire The Glen Hospital Bristol and founder of Vavista.com, offers her top 10 lower sugar food swaps.

1. Fresh fruit instead of fruit juice

Fruit juice is very high in sugar and provides little nutritional value. A fresh apple contains around 2.6 teaspoons of sugar and around 50 calories whereas a 250ml glass of apple juice contains 24g (around 6 teaspoons) of sugar and 123 calories. The whole fruit contains fibre too which fills you up and is good for you in many other ways.

2. Homemade soup instead of tinned or shop-brought

A can of shop bought soup such as Heinz Tomato Soup contains the equivalent of 4 tsp of sugar and 171 calories, whereas if you make it yourself using fresh vegetable it will be far lower in sugar and higher in nutrients. You can also avoid adding much salt which is a leading cause of heart disease.

3. Fruit flavoured yogurt for plain yoghurt and berries

Fruit yogurts can contain a huge amount of sugar so it's important that you read the Nutrition Facts panel.

Don't be fooled into thinking that low-fat varieties are healthy either as they are often higher in sugar with a 150g (5oz) serving of some 0% fat yogurts containing as much as 20g of sugar - the equivalent of five teaspoons. You are best off with plain yoghurt and some lower sugar fruit such as raspberries and blueberries.

4. Sugary cereal to low sugar versions

Many breakfast cereals are packed with hidden sugar - from the obvious sugary cereals such as Crunchy Nut Cornflakes to the dried fruit in luxury muesli. Low sugar cereals are few and far between, but can be found.

Cereals with no added sugar such as shredded wheat or Weetabix are a good choice. Swap a 30g bowl of frosted flakes (114 calories and 13.2 g sugar) for the same size bowl of branflakes (99 calories and 6.8g sugar).

5. Swap a hot chocolate for a cup of tea

A hot chocolate contains around 4.5 teaspoons of sugar and 200 calories even before you add cream and marshmallows, whereas a cup of tea contains very little sugar and around 20 calories if you drink it with milk.

6. Swap an ice cream for a frozen banana

One scoop of ice cream contains around 3 teaspoons of sugar and around 180 calories, whereas a banana contains fewer calories and the sugar is bound up with fibre and nutrients - making it a much healthier alternative.

7. Eat homemade instead of jarred sauces

Shop bought pasta sauces can be laden with hidden sugar as well as salt. A third of an average-sized jar, roughly 150g (5oz), can contain three teaspoons of sugar or more.

Try making your own sauces with canned or fresh tomatoes to cut down on sugar levels.

8. Swap chocolate for cherries

If you fancy something sweet, try swapping a 50g bar of milk chocolate (260 calories and 6 teaspoons of sugar for a bowl of cherries (90g) which contains just 50 calories and 2 teaspoons of sugar.

9. Swap sugary pop for non-sugar versions, milk or water

A can of coke contains 9 teaspoons of sugar and 139 calories, water contains none!

10. Choose the right biscuits

Swap two chocolate digestives (148 calories and 2 teaspoons sugar) for 2 rich tea biscuits (60 calories and less than 1 teaspoon of sugar).

For more information about weight loss consultations with Sally at Spire The Glen Hospital Bristol visit, http://www.spirehealthcare.com/bristol/our-facilities-treatments-and-consultants/our-consultants/miss-sally-norton/