MUCH to my amazement this month, my kids decided to do Sugar-Free February, so as a family we’ve all been cutting back together, avoiding sugary treats and taking a second look at what we’re eating.

It’s really shocking to find out how much sugar is in things that you would barely expect it to be in at all - like pasta sauces and soups.

Even seemingly healthy foods, like muesli and yoghurt, have a surprisingly high quantity of the stuff.

The NHS recommends that the average adult has no more than 30 grams of sugar per day which is about six teaspoons.

The trouble is we eat it without knowing because it’s hidden in processed foods and lots of our staple things.

I definitely have a sweet tooth. Refined sugar is highly addictive, it instantly tickles the pleasure centre of our brains, so eating something sweet is one of the quickest things we can do to make ourselves feel better.

The trouble is that the effect is short-lived and too much of anything is never good.

According to recent statistics, 68 per cent of men and 58 per cent of women are overweight, with 27 per cent of all adults classified as obese.

More worrying are the statistics about our children - in Year 6 (that’s 11-years-old), one in three children are overweight or obese.

I’ve got diabetes in my family and I know that for me and lots of other people out there, our bodies are just not designed to handle the amount of sugar and carbohydrate we traditionally eat.

According to the MOD, 78 British soldiers serving in Afghanistan in 2010 had to have a traumatic amputation, yet every single week in Britain 135 people lose a limb as a result of diabetes!

The UK is now the tenth fattest country in the world - as a nation we are losing the war against excess sugar and refined food.

For my kids, being sugar-free meant that for the first time ever they really started to look at what they were eating and so far this month the biscuits, chocolate and fizzy drinks have stayed on the shelves.

Try challenging yourself to read the nutrition information on your food for a week.

Even for people on a seemingly healthy diet, the sugar numbers can be surprising.

If you’re worried about diabetes, see your doctor, get screened for it, and above all start making some better choices in your diet.

Dr Jeff Stoker is a local GP at the Bermuda and Marlowe Practice in Basingstoke, with over 20 years’ experience in the NHS.

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