Kiss Your Sweet Tooth

Simple tricks to kick the sugar habit

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Got a sweet tooth? You’re not alone. Believe it or not, most Americans eat their weight in sugar each year. Sugar is not only highly addictive -- it’s wreaking havoc on our health. Ready to take control? Learn how to change your eating habits and cut the cravings with these simple tips to eat less sugar.

Tips to eat less sugar

Ditch processed foods

Sugar causes inflammation in the body which in turn makes us more susceptible to a host of diseases, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, lipid problems, heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Unfortunately, eliminating sugar from your diet can be trickier than it sounds because it’s hidden in almost all processed foods. Even so-called “health foods” often are loaded with hidden sugars that go by other names.

Learning how to identify sugar on food labels is key. Watch out for corn sweetener, sucrose, cane juice, agave nectar, simple syrup, fruit juice, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrates, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, cane juice and sucrose. Sugar-rich foods actually stimulate your appetite, so you end up hungrier than before you started. As you begin your sugar detox, try to avoid processed foods in general and make your own yummy, sugar-free snacks at home.

Curb your cravings with healthy sweets

Humans are naturally wired to crave sugar and the truth is not all sugar is bad. Sugar occurs naturally in fruits of all kinds, but it absorbs into our bloodstream differently because it is paired with healthy fiber. If you are craving the sweet stuff, reach for a bowl of fresh berries, a crisp apple or a big wedge of melon. You can still feed your sweet tooth without sending your body on a dangerous blood sugar rollercoaster ride.

Switch to unsweetened drinks

Want to cut back quickly on sugar cravings? Stop sipping on sugary drinks. Did you know that drinking a single sugar-sweetened beverage per day can double your risk for diabetes? Instead of reaching for that can of soda, try a refreshing unsweetened drink like iced tea, fruit-infused water or sparkling water with just a splash of fresh fruit juice. Don’t replace sugar with artificial sweeteners as the health risks are equal, if not more detrimental.

Go sugar-free

One of the best ways to shake the sugar habit is to ditch sugar completely for a few weeks. Eat a healthy, balanced diet with wholesome foods you prepare at home like meat, fish, eggs, whole grains, veggies and fruits. Once the sugar leaves your system, you will be amazed as how fast your cravings go away. And there’s more good news! Breaking free of the sugar cycle can actually heighten your sense of taste. You will be able to enjoy the beautiful mosaic of rich, natural flavors in foods much easier once your body is no longer ruled by your sweet tooth.

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