Review: David Gillespie’s Sugar-free Shopper’s Guide

Things as close to their natural state as possible. Meals that are home cooked and of course with minimal (ideally no sugar).

However, I fully appreciate that this isn’t always possible or desirable sometimes.

Yoghurts for example are something you likely have to still buy and work out which are the lowest sugar ones. Maybe you’re weaning off the fruity flavoured ones like I had to and want to make this a progressive change.



Or maybe you have a crazy busy day and fancy grabbing a quick stir-fry sauce to help you out or want to grab a makeshift dinner from a popular food outlet (Pret is usually my favourite when in the UK!).

Perhaps the kids are pestering you insanely to have cereal and you want to give them something to quieten the cries but make a ‘better’ choice around one that’s not laden with sugar.

And you know what, all of this is ok. It’s just a case of hunting down the lower sugar products that best fit the bill for you and your lifestyle compared to where you’re currently at.

However, to work this out it can take a while…

Trust me, when I first started lower sugar endeavours back in 2012 (before sugar-free was mainstream) I spent hours analysing and comparing the sugar content in products.

Luckily for me it’s all being used now in doing this work, but you may well have other things you’d prefer to do with your time than standing in the freezing cold yoghurt aisle doing % calculations (I am secretly a math geek!).

Luckily someone’s done all the hard work for you

David Gillespie has created these super helpful Sugar-free Shopper’s Guides for the UK, US and Australia.

They really help those first starting out to understand what has sugar, how much is in what and which products in the same category are notably better than others.


Literally you can just switch a brand, barely taste the difference and cut your sugar intake with this information.

The partner, your aunty and the kids won’t even know that this bread they’re eating contains half the sugar of the one you used to buy. You can upgrade your biscuits slowly to better options (my Uncle could benefit from this!).

On top of this, there’s extra helpful info on sugar substitutes, vegetable oils and some nice general reminders about sugar in general.  

And it’s like only £3.95 or $6.95 AUD!! Total bargain!!

Grab your instantly downloadable copy below and spread the word to family and friends!

The 2016 British Sugar-Free Shopper’s Guide

The 2014 Australian Sugar-Free Shopper’s Guide

The 2014 North-American Sugar-Free Shopper’s Guide


A few notes…

Keep perspective

This information is super helpful to people just starting out but once you’ve found your favourite low sugar products and got into your groove, you shouldn’t have to worry too much.

Remember don’t get too bogged down in the detail – just use the info a tool.

Don’t get overwhelmed

Vegetable oils are mentioned and this is something to consider but don’t get disheartened trying to eliminate these completely at the same time as sugar. I advise focus on sugar first and reducing vegetable oils can come as a next step healthier upgrade if you wish.

Have you found or bought any other digital sugar helping resources you’d like me to review or have you already got one of these guides that you’ve used?

Note: I am a proud affiliate for these products because I honestly think they’re a great resource for many people at the start of sugar change. I get a kickback thank you if you purchase via my links. 

How much sugar: Pimms, cereal, yoghurt & Nakd bars (not together!)

So this week instead of churning out something new, I decided to refresh and update a couple of old articles that are my most popular and most read.

If you fancy getting some quick sugar knowledge and a practical approach around yoghurts, cereal, Nakd bars and Pimms then click on one of the links below to take you to the updated article:

Reading and re-writing these articles was quite eye opening to me in that it made me realise there was a time where I was possibly a little fixated on sugar more that I like to advocate these days. However, it was a necessary step I needed to go through on my health changes and being an analytical numbers person, I quite enjoyed getting into the detail.

What I will say is get your head quickly around where there’s more sugar and become aware, but avoid becoming overly fixated for an extended period of time. I don’t advocate counting calories and I also think to have a healthy relationship and food long term, you shouldn’t be counting sugar grams either.

Read: The 5 ways counting calories is working against you

Respect the stage that you’re at and if you want to be guided through the process then don’t forget the free video training you can get here that walks you through my approach to this.

Are there any other foods you’d like me to apply my analytical number crunching too? Comment below and I’ll look into it 🙂

Laura x



Fructose-free muesli base recipe

Muesli was one of my favourite sugar-filled foods but even when labelled sugar-free, it can still be packed to the nines with dried fruit.

Make this basic muesli base and you can call the shots on the sugar in your muesli bowl by either having it plain or by adding a little fruit sweetness to your own taste depending on where you are with your sweet cravings.

Fructose-free muesli base


Makes 8-10 portions


  • 1 ½ cups mixed nuts (I use hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts but any mix will do)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup flaxseed powder
  • ½ cup unsweetened dessicated coconut
  • ½ cup chia seeds (optional)
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds


  • Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well
  • Pour into an airtight container
  • Serve with your choice of cold milk, yoghurt or extras


Try this

  • If you’re in a super low fructose period, try mixing with some full fat yoghurt and topping with coconut flakes and raw cacao nibs.
  • For a low fructose twist add either some fresh raspberries, a chopped kiwi fruit or some blueberries.
  • Ultimately as you grow more confident with sweet, add whichever fruit you like best – I personally love either chopped apple, peach or goji berries with cacao nibs
  • Activating or soaking your nuts will make them easier to digest

Do you make your own muesli? Have you found any that are particularly low sugar that you would be willing to share?

Time to change around sugar?

Love this recipe but feel like you are not sure where to start with recalibrating your tastebuds, dealing with emotional eating, changing habits etc? Then check out my free 4-video training course which describes my four pillars to embrace a low sugar lifestyle and sends you LOADS of other helpful resources to get started.



Fruit juice: What you need to know

This week national news broke around banning fruit juice from being a ‘5 a day’ contribution.  Whilst you might not on a daily basis drink loads of fruit juice and be somewhat aware of it’s sugar content, you might still be wondering if it can have a place in your diet?

I’m going to cover off things you should think of when it comes to fruit juice and a number of questions you need to ask yourself to reference your own circumstances in deciding if it’s appropriate and how much.

Sugar in fruit juice

There is no doubt about it, fruit juice is a very high and concentrated source of sugar and therefore fructose (the more addictive part of sugar). With the fibre removed through the juicing process it doesn’t fill you up as the whole fruit equivalent would. For example, drinking a glass of apple juice is much easier than eating 6 apples (no thanks on the latter!).

I’ve mentioned this before when comparing juices vs. smoothies.


Fruit juice is misleading

The other problem with fruit juice is around the marketing of it, particularly when it comes to children. Often it’s touted as ‘healthy’ and marketed at helping you get towards your 5 a day.

Now for some, having a juice might well be healthy – for example someone who hasn’t eaten anything remotely resembling a fruit or vegetable all day and is screaming out for nutrition of any kind.

However if your current health goal is to get a handle over sugar cravings so you don’t lose control when the chocolate box comes out, fruit juice isn’t going to be helping you towards that goal – the small nutrients are going to be completely outweighed for you.

It further supports the point that you really can’t take any ‘healthy’ marketing at face value, you have to put juice into the context for yourself i.e. where you’re at with feeling in control of your cravings and how much other sugar you’re consuming in different forms.

Don’t you get nutrients from juice?

Yes you do, but you can easily get this from vegetables and whole fruit. Many people think that orange juice is the only source of Vitamin C for example. In fact half a cup of red pepper or broccoli is just as good source of vitamin C as orange juice (without the massive sugar hit). Drinking orange juice purely for vitamin C is just not a viable excuse to pump yourself with the sugar.

Ask yourself why you want juice?

This brings me to my next point. When you’re drinking fruit juice, think about what the purpose is

  • Is it because you’re thirsty?
  • Is it because you’ve always had it at breakfast?
  • Is it a source of ‘5 a day for you’?
  • Is it because you want a source of a certain vitamin or mineral?
  • Is it to get another taste out of your mouth?
  • Is it because you don’t like (or are just bored with) plain water?
  • Is it to wash down some other food?
  • Is it because you’ve always bought it with your Boots meal deal!?
  • Is it because you’re craving something sweet?

Only when you work out what you really want from your fruit juice temptation, can you then identify what could be a healthier alternative that won’t induce sugar cravings. When I was on holiday in Skiathos this year, I found myself craving fruity juice drinks because of the thirst element. This helped me find strategies to keep things low sugar but still satisfy the need and core craving I had for cold thirst quenching refreshment that wasn’t a complete sugar overload. You can read about the 5 good tips and strategies I used here.

Moderation and portion control

Counter arguments in support of fruit juice are of course that all things can be moderated and rather than demonise particular foodstuffs, you should focus on portion control. I tend to agree with this in general…once you have your cravings in some sort of check and you call the shots with sugar. Also I will add with fruit juice, many people find it hard to portion control. Once you start gulping, especially if you’re thirsty, it’s actually very hard to stop.

If you’re an individual who finds yourself at the mercy of sugar cravings and you’re currently trying to get control of that, then even moderated fruit juice isn’t a good idea because you’re simply dialling up your palate to sweet once again. It’s not helping you with your main goal of recalibrating your tastebuds.

Natural portion control

When you don’t eat as much sugar or you just eat natural whole fruit forms, your palate will adjust and fruit juice actually becomes sickly sweet and often you can’t drink that much anyway. In this way, you can train yourself to moderate naturally your portions of it based on your own tastebuds without having to measure out a specific amount. I know I can’t really hack fruit juice. Sometimes on social occasions (thinking about my brunch experience in America) I am presented with it and I always feel a bit sick, craving savoury food insanely afterwards.


In summary, be very conscious of fruit juice if you’re trying to get a handle on sugar cravings. It will dial up your sweet preference very quickly and potentially result in continued cravings at other times. It’s also not really necessary and is usually just a habit you need to work to change.

Seek to eat whole fruit instead or dilute as much as you can with fizzy/soda water.

Also beware of using other excuses (e.g. for Vitamin C or for 5 a day) to justify juice intake, when really it’s because you’re just wanting a sweet interesting drink. Identify if fruit juice is just a habit that you need to break e.g. at breakfast or with your Boots meal deal.

Finally, know that it’s contextual. Whilst the headlines call for certain things and make recommendations, it’s only you that can know where you’re at and what impact that juice will really have on your health goals.

If you’ve got someone close to you who’s guzzling fruit juice like no tomorrow, share this article with them. Gentle influence 😉

What are your thoughts on fruit juice? Do you think it should be banned from it’s contribution to our ‘5 a day’? Do you find you have fruit juice cravings and what do you do about them? Comment below and I’ll reply to any other questions.

Get sugar perspective on your dark chocolate %

You can read my other blog posts on how to buy dark chocolate and a review of a number of different brands.

I know there were a lot of numbers in that video there so here they are below:

99% cacao, 2% sugar, 1g per 50g bar, 0.1g or something ridiculously small per very small square

90% cacao, 7% sugar, 7g per 100g bar, 0.9g per square

85% cacao, 14% sugar, 14g per 100g bar, 1.75g per square

70% cacao, 29% sugar, 29g per 100g bar, 3.6g per square

Make sure you know about these supermarket sugar shockers

Do you get confused by the sugar in different products? Maybe you just don’t know what you’re looking for half the time or become baffled with all the hidden sugar that’s suddenly around you. Not sure if you’re aware of all the sugar shockers out there?

Today I’ve picked a motley selection of food products from the supermarket shelves and picked their sugar content apart, giving you an expert view and insight to help you get up to speed pronto (You = sugar whiz after reading this!).

Can you guess the total amount of sugar in these products?


On the weekend I was exhibiting at The Fit Festival in Edinburgh (with the help of my lovely mum!). As my first exhibition experience I decided to run a ‘guess the total sugar’ competition of the following products. Below is the lowdown on each with some shocking numbers and stats. Before you read on, grab a bit of a paper and have a guess yourself (total grams in all of these products together). Let me know if you got it right or were close. We had guesses from ranging 6g to 1975g – mental!


M&S Mojito Juice Drink 750ml

10.3% sugar, 25.8g per 250ml serving, 77.4g total

This is pretty shocking considering it’s a ‘refreshing non alcoholic drink’. Seriously, I’d almost prefer you to have a small alcoholic one! When it comes to drinks, always calculate the amount per the entire bottle. Everybody drinks different servings, quite often they polish the lot. Slash your sugar intake dramatically and crave less by removing all sweet drinks from your diet. If out & cocktails are on the cards, ask a charming barman or barwoman to half the sugar they put in your freshly made alcoholic mojito.

M&S Lemon & Lime Sparkling Water

0.04% sugar, 2g per 500ml bottle total

I stuck this in there as a contrast to highlight a few things. Although seemingly low in sugar, this drink is chemical cocktail. Three E-numbers, a number of acids and sucralose (a commonly used artificial sweetener). Consuming these chemicals you are taking a gamble on your own health as we don’t really know what they are doing to us. Studies have shown they are likely to make you overcompensate calorie-wise (& likely sugar-wise) later down the line which isn’t great for both control and weight management.

Oat So Simple Original Instant Porridge Pot

11g total

My mum wanted this for breakfast and was shocked to discover that the plain variety had so much added sugar. You’d expect the Golden Syrup flavour of course to be sweet, but 11g in the plain one? Yep, because this is essentially just oats and water, they have to add sugar or else it would taste like cardboard. Remember that these pots didn’t even exist a few years ago, you just got up 10 mins earlier to eat breakfast. If you are caught out, a Pret A Manger plain porridge pot is a better bet because it’s made with milk and can (by some) be eaten without a shed load of sugar or topping.

Sainsbury’s Sweet & Sour Stir Fry Sauce 120g

27.4% sugar, 16.4g per serving, 32.8g total

Although I wouldn’t class this as completely ‘invisible sugar’ because it’s called ‘sweet & sour’, this is still pretty shocking. With a 4g per teaspoon, you’re talking 4 teaspoons in your stir fry main meal. Extremely processed with a very long list of ingredients. I would warn anyone off a sauce like this and encourage them to look for a lower sugar one if they must. Even better make your own stir fry sauce with ingredients like sesame oil, fresh ginger, soy sauce, lime juice and chilli.

Sainsbury’s Be Good to Yourself Honey Mustard Dressing 250ml

1.7g sugar per serving, 26.75g total

OK only an ‘orange’ traffic light when it comes to sugar but completely unnecessary. I don’t even think these dressings taste very nice (I used to eat them in my low fat days). Salad dressings can be full fat amazing – think quality ingredients like virgin olive oil, fresh lemon & lime juice, apple cider vinegar, tahini, creamy yoghurt, good seasoning. The ‘Be Good to Yourself – less than 3% fat’ is just a low fat marketing ploy. Don’t fall for it. Fat is not bad for you, end of.

Activia Fig Yoghurts 4x125g

18% sugar, 16.6g per pot, 66.4g total

Even I was shocked at these. Normally the bigger snack size pots or Muller Lights come out about 16g per pot, but these smaller ones really packed in the sugar for their size. Fruity yoghurts are a killer. Full fat or low fat, if they’re fruity flavoured they’re very likely sugar laden. Opt for natural or greek yoghurts (video blog here for the difference between these two) and make sure you know the difference between ‘Greek’ and Greek Style (recent blog article on this here).

Real Lancashire Eccles Cakes 200g

55.8% sugar, 27.9g per cake, 111.6g total

These used to be a real favourite of mine. My mum said she didn’t want to know how much sugar was in them (sorry mum). They are a sugar shocker because essentially they are like a whole bunch of grapes dried and squashed up, then coated in a thin layer of butter pastry. Two kind of good things with these 1) they are a very obvious treat (not something you’d be eating often like the yoghurts) and 2) at least most of the sugar is natural (but it’s still very high in fructose and will lead to serious sweet cravings). Lots of other oils and ingredients in these I’m not keen on putting into ones body too often. These were also sneaky because they had no weight on the packet so it was hard to work out. I actually got the clerk to weigh them and tell me!

Tower Gale Scottish Oatcakes 300g (from Lidl)

2% sugar, 0.3g per oatcake, 6g total

This is an example of hidden sugar as it’s listed on the ingredients probably without you thinking that these would contain any sugar. However there really isn’t too much per oatcake so although it’s not ideal, it’s also not worth worrying about in terms of it bringing on cravings. I’d also say that if you replace your daily digestive with one of these then that’s a great lower sugar substitution. Again, these have a longer list of ingredients and some oils that I don’t favour so have a look for oatcake brands with the lowest number of ingredients e.g. Narins or ones in a specialist health food shop.

If you liked this, there are videos more guidance around shopping as part of the Mentor Me Off Sugar 6-week sugar detox. This programme will save you serious time and effort!


Total sugar in EVERYTHING 334g!!

Surprised by the total? Leave a comment below on which ones of these shocked you the most or if you used to (or still do) eat any of these regularly?



Advances in sugar-free snacking

I’m impressed. I’ve just walked out of Pret A Manger and was in awe of the latest sugar-free goodies to feast my eyes. So I’d thought I’d write about the advances in sugar-free snacking I’ve noticed today and highlight some of my favourite picks, explaining why.

I think someone is listening!

It seems that things are starting to change when it comes to out and about sugar-free snacking . I’m increasingly noticing ‘sugar-free’ products or low sugar options. Whilst you still need to be cautious of ‘sugar-free’ as a health claim (read here for why), the range of things I can actually buy and eat these days when out seems to be increasing (hooray!). This is mostly down to shifting demand, where our choices as a consumer drive sales and profits which eventually speak to the people at the top. If you’ve been avoiding sugary shop bought affair for a while, take pride in the fact it’s working!


Practical sugar-free snacking

I remember when I put together my low-sugar snack guide in 2012, I walked into Pret A Manager and found hardly anything that I could go for. It was quite depressing at the time. There were nuts and maybe a bag of popcorn, but that was it. Fast forward 18 months and they’ve bought out this cute little range of snack tubs, kale chips and cold savoury soups.

Which products did I like?

Egg and spinach protein pot – Great as a snack or for breakfast on the go. A cheap option too at £1.50 as I know a round in Pret can suddenly add up.

Crayfish & quinoa protein pot – With over 15g of protein, this will keep you mega full as a snack!

A salmon based snack pot – Can’t find it on the website but it was there! Let me know if you find this one.

Kale chips – why buy normal crisps when you have such a tasty healthy option?

Garden pea & mint soup – I love cold soups. You could also check out my easy cucumber and avocado number to make at home.

Pret also have a pretty hefty range of salads are aren’t afraid to add a good portion of avocado to some of them (a super filling fat source) e.g. this crayfish & avocado number.

The salads are colourful (which means nutritionally dense), many have a decent amount of protein (for a shop bought salad at least) and from the ones I’ve tried, they’re pretty tasty. Obviously watch out for sugary dressings, but since they come separately, you can leave these off your salad or just use a smaller portion.

Watch out for this

I did also notice that Pret had some green juices in stock. I had a major success in New York discovering a fab low sugar green juice and so I assumed these were going to be similar…

Being suddenly in a major rush (after spending too long taking flipping pictures – typical me!), I grabbed one that seemed to have mostly greens with a view to trying it out. However, upon my first thirsty sip, I knew straight away this was a sugar bomb. The green colour is deceiving with these juices. This seemingly virtuous ‘Green Goodness’ was predominantly an apple juice (over 60%) with some added extras (cucumber, spinach etc. in smaller proportions). With over 40g of sugar per bottle, despite being ‘natural’, this was not my cup of tea and was way too sugary.

A green juice is of course loads better than a coke and many other drinks. So for those needing more greens in their life (Mum are you reading?) it’s a healthy swap. However, for those who are trying to get a handle on cravings and keep an eye on total fructose, just be aware of ‘Green Goodness’ type juices because they’re not quite as ‘Good’ as they seem.

Anyway, I guess it goes to say, well done Pret. These new products were nice to see and made me very happy one fine Thursday. I know buying on the go can be notoriously hard on low sugar-diet and it’s great to see things developing to give us more delicious & tasty options.

Have you spotted some good low sugar snacks out and about? Would you try any of these Pret options? Ever been a little bit mislead by a ‘green juice’ like me? Would love to hear from you so please share your thoughts.

Is sugar the new tobacco?

Low sugar going big: Your news round up

Unless you were off skiing last week, you might have seen a number of news headlines hit home around sugar.  To remind you of some the key points, and in case you missed any of it, I’d thought I’d do a quick lowdown on the things you might be most interested to know. For more information and background, head over to read why eat less sugar.

The Credit Suisse report

Things really started to kick off back in September when Credit Suisse published their report ‘Sugar: at the crossroads’. Some of their findings were as follows:

  • 43% of the added sugar consumed comes from drinks.

  • 4.8 million die of diabetes every year.

  • 86% of their globally sampled doctors agree that sugar is linked to Type II diabetes, obesity & non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

  • Over 85% of the doctors recommended Government intervention in reducing sugar consumption.

  • It was noted that colourful packaging could be replaced with plainer tones to reduce the appeal of products.

There’s also a video you can watch summing up the report.

Halving our guidelines

Then over Christmas (whilst everyone was polishing off the chocolates!) the World Health Organisation (WHO) leaked a recommendation that the advised sugar levels should be cut in half (reported in the Sunday Times 29.12.13) A few things to note here:

  • Cutting in half would mean the added sugar guideline going from 10% to 5% of total calorie intake. Note that is a maximum, you could actually live with 0% if you want.

  • That is a guideline of 8 teaspoons (32g) for men a day and 6 (24g) for women (including fruit juice and honey).

  • These guidelines have not been updated since 2003.

  • When WHO last recommended a limit, the sugar industry kicked off (in a big and  aggressive way).

  • Sugar Nutrition, who have opposed the changes, are owned by Associated British Foods, who made £435m in profit from the sugar business in 2013 (just saying).

  • Last week, Action on Sugar was launched – an organisation set up to encourage big companies to reduce added ‘hidden’ sugars by at least 30%  in their products over the next few years. To keep things balanced you can read an argument against it here.

  • A great video animation also surfaced showing you how sugar affects your brain, specifically your pleasure dopamine receptors. It explains nicely why we crave it so badly!

  • Forbes also reported on a systematic study on systematic studies around sugary beverages (I know confusing!). It concluded papers may be inclined to draw conclusions in line with sponsors interests e.g. Coca-cola sponsored papers not finding a significant relationship between drinks and obesity.

So is sugar the new tobacco?

  • This was the headline news last week. Sugar is addictive yes, but even Dr Robert Lustig claims not quite as much as tobacco and drugs. Is it really new tobacco? Well, let’s just wait and see how it plays out in the political field. I have to say, I think I’m in the yes camp.

  • Andrew Langley (ex-health minister) disputed the tobacco-sugar analogy and claimed we need to reduce on an incremental basis so not to shock consumers.

  • However, as Dr Malhotra rightly points out in another good article, the problem with sugar is that it’s consumed more widely that tobacco, so you could argue it’s even worse. It’s even so pervasive it’s hard to avoid when we want to (don’t we know it?!). What do you think?

Other random news

  • Lidl claimed they’re replacing checkout sweets with healthier options, to help reduce child pestering (I was one of those kids – sorry Mum!).

  • Monkeys at a zoo in Devon are now restricted with bananas – keepers are reporting they have better skin and calmed aggression. Interesting…

Also to note: I contributed as the expert for a piece in The Mail on Sunday about sweeteners & substitutes. I want to be clear that this article was to educate and I didn’t have full reign over it. To reiterate, once you are successfully ‘off’ sugar’, you don’t need these very often, if at all. I don’t eat any of these day to day. My comments were to help educate the public on what I think is a very confusing area at the moment, in light of all this news, rather than say it’s a good idea to drizzle a large amount of honey on your porridge.

So what do I think?

All in all the wider awareness of sugar is great. It seems there really is a bit of a movement starting. Starting this blog essentially was done for that reason and so it’s fantastic that so many people will take note now, look at sugar like you and me do, and start reducing it in their own lives – leading to improved health all around.

It’s also great because the sugar content will now reduce and lower sugar options are likely to emerge, as consumers like us vote buy buying the better options. Whilst low sugar produce is generally good news for the general public, I would still advise eating whole real unprocessed food as much as possible.

Not always an overnight job…

In response to the awareness, some people will just stop eating sugar and that will be that (I’ve found men can do this easier than women). However, if you’ve tried to cut sugar and you are anywhere near to what I was like with it, you’ll know it’s a longer, harder and potentially more emotional journey. Sometimes it can be nothing short of a depressing not-that-fun uphill struggle.

So take this news as continued motivation to keep going. Get talking to your friends and family, and convince them along for the ride. Do share this article if you think it will help someone you know get their head around all of this.

What are your thoughts on any of this? Is sugar the new tobacco and should Devon’s zoo monkeys be deprived of their bananas?!


How to buy low sugar dark chocolate

Recently, one of my lovely subscribers Noreen e-mailed me a question about dark chocolate…

“Have you found any chocolate that does not contain sugar or has a lesser amount? All the dark chocolate I have found still lists sugar as one of the top three ingredients.”

Great question Noreen – thank you! Let’s look at this….

Generally, there aren’t a significant amount of ingredients that constitute dark chocolate, so there’s a high chance that sugar will be in the top three. Bars that are lower in cocoa solids tend to have sugar as the 1st or 2nd ingredient, and for those which are darker, you may find it goes down to 2nd or 3rd, simply because the cocoa makes up more of the bar substance.


What to look for

When you’re looking at dark chocolate, it’s better to look at the sugar per 100g so you can work out the % e.g. 10g sugar per 100g equals 10%.

Bear in mind, those with the same cacao % can still have differences in sugar amount. Here’s just a selection of chocolate that shows you the comparison (Highest in sugar first).


Lindt Excellence chilli

  • 46.4g sugar per 100g

  • 49% cocoa solids

Green & Blacks 70%

  • 28.9g sugar per 100g

  • 70% cocoa solids

Nero & Bianco (the brand that is stocked in my office canteen!) 

  • 27g sugar per 100g

  • 70% cocoa solids

Green & Blacks 85%

  • 13.8g sugar per 100g

  • 85% cocoa solids

Lovechock 100% Raw Pure Nibs

  • 12g sugar per 100g

  • 80% cocoa solids

Lindt Excellence 90%

  • 7g sugar per 100g

  • 90% cocoa solids

(I am going to do a full review of some of these in a separate post but I’m still in testing phase!)


More buying dark chocolate tips

Generally, what I first look for in a dark chocolate is sugar per 100g, and then it’s cocoa % because this is the powerful antioxidant element that has the health benefit. I think 12-13g is a reasonable amount, but I do also like the 90% which is only 7g. I appreciate you need to work up to these as your taste buds adjust their sugar sensitivity. Lots of people can find dark chocolate bitter, especially if they are accustomed to a sugary diet.

Think about the quality when you pick dark chocolate. Expensive good quality chocolate is usually associated with a nicer texture and deeper taste. It means you really savour each square and are more inclined to make it last rather than gobble it down.

Note: A year ago I used to love the Lindt Chilli chocolate but notice how that is top of the list and nearly 50% sugar, despite still being labelled as a ‘dark’ chocolate. Unfortunately I do find this one a bit sickly now but I love the flavour combination. (Hi Lindt, please can you make a Chilli 85% one just for me? Great, thanks!)

Some brands might advertise that it’s been sweetened with coconut sugar/nectar, xylitol or stevia which are all healthy-ish alternatives in their own way to raw cane sugar. I’ve posted on all three of these, so just make sure you’re clued up so you know what you’re ingesting when you eat them. At the end of the day, if it’s a square of dark chocolate eaten every once in a while, I’m happy to let this very small amount of raw cane sugar pass my lips.

To let you know, I now eat dark chocolate once or twice a week, if that. I used to eat it everyday. Consider that if you’re eating it everyday, you’re having refined sugar everyday and your cementing it as a habit, which with time will only get stronger. Try and break the routine if you can and do a good few days without it.

I hope that was helpful. What are your thoughts on dark chocolate? Do you love it or hate it? Find it so bitter it’s not worth having? Favourite brands?

P.S. I was delighted when Noreen e-mailed me with her great question so if you’ve a burning query, please let me know! (