Do you have a serious sweet tooth? If so, it can sometimes be hard to resist the desire for sugar. What we call table sugar is pure sucrose. Widespread cultivation of sugarcane and sugar beets has made sugar cheaper and more plentiful than ever before… and is in almost everything!
In the United States, sugar and high fructose corn syrup are in more products than you can imagine. Even Wonder Bread and similar products contain sugar. The average American consumes way too much sugar, even if they don’t think they do. This contributes to high rates of obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.
Sugar Can Be Addictive
There’s a proven reason why you crave sugar. First of all, taste preferences are partly determined by genetic factors. It’s part of the reason that some people are more predisposed toward things like obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay, although it’s far from the complete picture. Eating behaviors are influenced by many physiological factors, psychological factors, social factors, as well as genetics.
Not only are some people predisposed toward having a “sweet tooth,” but many are also genetically predisposed toward sugar addiction. Yes, sugar can be addictive, and that’s not simply a hyperbolic statement. There really is evidence that sugar influences neural pathways in the nucleus accumbens that are correlated with addictions and compulsive behaviors.
Here are 5 Ways to Avoid Sugar Cravings
So how do you keep sugar cravings at a minimum?
1) Know your current sugar intake
You need to be aware of your eating habits. Unless you’re either trying to lose weight or you’ve done so in the past, you’re probably not paying a whole lot of attention to, or keeping track of what you’re eating.
2) Gradually reduce your sugar intake over time.
Believe it or not, just like typical addictive drugs, reducing your sugar consumption can cause withdrawal symptoms. While they may not be as significant as other drug withdrawals, they can be on par with caffeine withdrawal. Not everyone will experience withdrawals, however its always wise to reduce your intake gradually over a week or two.
3) Learn to say NO
While sugary drinks and foods taste good, you really need to ask yourself if its worth the potential damage to your health? Sometimes you have to think about the long term, not the short term pleasure and just say no.
4) Sugar Free Alternatives
There are many sugar-free products which are very close to the sugared products they’re based on – for example Splenda. From flavored coffee creamer, to chewing gum, to candy, to other sweeteners, there are tons of great alternatives that are low in sugar.
5) Chew sugar-free gum.
If you have a sweet tooth, there are literally a ton of sugar-free gums, generally sweetened with xylitol or sorbitol. Chewing a piece of sugar-free gum is a great way to indulge a sugar craving without hurting your teeth.
Saying No to Too Much Sugar
Sugar can have addictive properties for many people. It’s not always easy to say no to sweets. So many things are full of sugar, and some of them, like fruit juices, are even marketed as being a healthy choice when in fact they are not.