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written by The Nutrition Twins,
As registered dietitians, we’ve encountered many a sweet tooth over the years. Our clients often tell us that they suffer from sugar addiction to the point that they can’t control themselves around the cookie tray, and their desire for dessert is sabotaging their workouts and otherwise healthy food habits.
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry, you’re not destined for sweet slavery. When someone tells us they want to quit the sweet stuff once and for all, we take a closer look at their diet and lifestyle habits. The source of their addiction? It’s usually one of the four sugar saboteurs below. Luckily, there’s a solution for each that’ll help you quit your cupcake—or candy, or chocolate—habit for good!
Sugar Saboteur #1: You’re tired
If you haven’t slept well, you’ve gone a long time without eating, or you’ve eaten processed snacks like chips or pretzels, you’re more likely to reach for sweets for an immediate burst of energy. Problem is, that sugar rush is swiftly followed by a drop in blood sugar that causes you to crave—you guessed it—more sugar. Before you know it, your brain and body get caught in a vicious cycle of sugar cravings.
Sweet Solution: Get a good night’s rest and don’t go for more than 4-4.5 hours between meals/ small snacks to stay fueled and avoid the need for a quick pick-me up. When you do need a boost, avoid processed snack foods and choose fiber-filled carbs like fruit, quinoa or oatmeal and always pair them with a little protein or fat, like a yogurt, an egg or nuts. This will stabilize your blood sugar and prevent an energy dip and another craving. Also, when a sweet craving does hit, go for fruit first as your sweet to quench your craving. Other energizing solutions: Stress reduction and working out, which have both been shown to give you more energy and ward off junk-food cravings.
Sugar Saboteur #2: You’re being “good”
Sticking solely to lean proteins, fruits, and veggies, and avoiding grains and other starches because you’re afraid they’ll pack on the pounds can leave your sweet tooth throbbing by the afternoon. The reason: You may not be providing your body with enough long-lasting energy. Similar to the previous situation, you end up reaching for a sweet boost.
Sweet Solution: Simply add either ½ cup of cooked whole grains like oatmeal or brown rice, or a 3.5-ounce baked potato, sweet potato, or winter squash to your meals. These one-hundred calorie, fiber-rich portions of complex carbohydrates keep you full and stabilize your blood sugar, preventing you from gorging on hundreds of calories of dessert later on.
Sugar Saboteur #3: You simply love sweet foods (We hear ya; we think they’re delicious too!)
If you associate sugary treats with the pleasure of eating food, then you may feel that no other tastes or flavors compare. No wonder you continuously indulge!
Sweet Solution: Try to “reset” your taste buds. Your taste buds are like all other cells in your body, they turn over and create new ones. The longest it will take is 21 days/ 3 weeks. You can either try to stay away from sugar altogether to overcome your sweet tooth and not crave it anymore, or you can try some of these tactics to “cleanse” your body and recharge that don’t require quite as much discipline. Whichever you choose to employ, your sweet tooth will appreciate less sweet flavors.
Sugar Saboteur #4: You turn to sweets for comfort. When you’ve had a bad day or you’re stressed out, eating something sweet can give you pleasure and make you feel better—temporarily. The trouble is, high-sugar foods only make you feel worse in the long run, and if you make sugar soothing a habit, you’ll automatically crave cookies and candy whenever you’re feeling down.
Sweet Solution: First, make sure you’re not eating in a way that drains your energy (if so, see solutions #1 and #2 above). Next, experiment to find what works for you. The answer may be one small portion of a sweet treat that satisfies your craving, or it may be popping a mint in your mouth to give you that pleasure and comfort, or, even better, it may be finding ways to relax (or celebrate) that have nothing to do with food, like watching a good movie or taking a relaxing bath. The bottom line: High-sugar foods make you feel lethargic, can mess with your sleep patterns, and lead to weight gain and other health woes. Nothing comforting about that!
For more ways to kick your sugar habit to the curb, check out
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Published on Fitbie on January 7, 2014