Sugar Addiction: Kick the Habit (cont.)
Here are some tips to help you break the sugar habit:
- Read the label on all processed foods. Check the amount of sugars, and choose products with the least sugar per serving.
- Become familiar with sugar terminology. Recognize that all of these are sweeteners: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, honey, molasses, turbinado, and brown sugar.
- Keep up with your journal, and use the notes section to document your mood, setting, and activity whenever you feel the urge to eat sweets. Review your notes, and look for patterns or triggers that you can alter to help control your sugar intake.
- Select one behavior to change each week. Try satisfying your sweet tooth with a snack-sized candy bar instead of a full-sized one. Next week, trade in a soft drink for seltzer with a splash of fruit juice.
- Satisfy your desire for sweets with the natural sweetness of whole fruits or no-sugar-added juices.
- Buy unsweetened food and beverages, and add small amounts of sweeteners if you need them. Enjoy whole-grain cereal with one teaspoon of sugar instead of presweetened cereals, which contain much more sugar per serving.
- Try using less sugar in your coffee or tea. Gradually decrease the amount you use to let your taste buds adapt.
- Don't substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar; this will do little to alter your desire for sweets. Moderate amounts of artificial sweeteners are not unhealthy, but they won't help you retrain your taste buds.
- Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder -- and it also intensifies cravings. Allow yourself small portions of sweets on occasion. Try to satisfy your cravings with a piece of hard candy or sugarless gum. If you totally deny yourself, it will be hard to think about anything else. On the other hand, if you know you are allowed one small treat per day, you will savor every bite.
- Quench your thirst with flavored waters that are calorie-free. Jazz up plain or sparkling water with fresh mint, a slice of lemon, lime, or orange, or a splash of fruit juice.
If you're a sugar "addict," kicking the habit will do your body good. The American Heart Association's newest recommendations suggest a balanced diet, low in fat, with a reduced sugar intake, along with regular exercise, as the best way to lose weight and keep it off.
Your WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Program eating plan supports these recommendations. It is designed to promote a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week and to encourage the eating of healthy foods while weaning you from excessive sugar. So stick with the plan, follow our tips, and find out just how sweet better health can be!
Originally published Feb. 5, 2004
Medically updated Jan. 3, 2005.
SOURCES: Nutrition Research, 1997; vol 17(9). Family Economics and Nutrition Review, Jan. 10, 2002. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, May 1998. Food Review, Winter 2002; vol 25(3). USDA Economic Research Service. USDA Economic Research Service, 1990-1997 Food Consumption Data, April 1999. Clinician Reviews, 2001; vol 13(11).
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