Sugar Habit: Nutrition and Your Sweet Tooth (cont.)

And making a few "no big deal" changes in your diet is better than cutting out something -- including sugary foods -- that you love, says Joanne Lichten, PhD, author of Dr. Jo's No Big Deal Diet. Think of your diet as an 80-20 plan, Lichten suggests. Eighty percent should be healthy. For the other 20% (or 10%, if you're really determined), allow yourself your favorites.

To control your sugar sprees, she recommends not keeping temptation around the house in the first place. Go out for your treats, or ask your family to hide them. If you do keep sugary snacks on hand for the rest of the family, think small. "A mini bag of M&Ms will do the trick," Lichten tells WebMD. "There's no need to keep a big bag nearby."

Finally, give yourself permission to enjoy your sugary treats. Lichten, for example, allows herself one dessert a day, but limits it to no more than 300 calories. "Wait for your favorites," she says "but make sure they're part of your plan."

Published May 16, 2003.

SOURCES: United Nations Report, Feb. 28, 2003. Lisa Ritchie, EdD, RD, LD, assistant professor of family and consumer sciences and director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics at Harding University. Nancy Appleton, PhD, author, Lick the Sugar Habit. Debbie Strong, MBAm LDN, RD, Ochsner Clinic Foundation. Melanie Polk, MMSC, RD, FADA, director of nutrition education, American Institute for Cancer Research. Susan Dahlheimer, PhD, professor and chair of food and nutrition at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Joanne Lichten, PhD, author, Dr. Jo's No Big Deal Diet.

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Last Editorial Review: 5/16/2003