Halloween is in the rear view mirror and we are looking ahead to Thanksgiving. Between leftover Halloween candy and mom’s pumpkin pie after the turkey, it can be tough to curb your sweet tooth.

In fact, limiting sugar is one of the most difficult challenges for people who are trying to eat healthier. Let’s face it, sugary foods taste good, but it goes much deeper than that. When we ingest sugar, our brain produces huge surges of dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure. Plus sugar causes an insulin spike or sugar rush, but then it dips, which can make us feel tired and crave more sugar. It is a vicious cycle.  

We know sugar is in food such as donuts and soda, but it is also in many sauces, condiments, salad dressings and many other foods that don’t even taste sweet. Americans average about 22 teaspoons of added sugars per day, way more than the recommended 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.

Excess sugar can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, acne and lack of energy, to name a few of the negative effects.

 

If want to kick your sugar habit, don’t just rely on will power. We’ve got 7 simple steps you can start today. 

  • 1

    Eat a Healthy and Filling Meal

    A craving is not the same as hunger. It's not your body looking for energy, it’s your brain calling for something that releases the reward of dopamine.

  • 2

    Get Up and Go For A Walk

    Take a walk around the block or head to the park if you are tempted by sweets at the office or at home. This give you two benefits for the price of one. First, you are distancing yourself from the food that you are craving.
    Second, the exercise will release endorphins, or "feel good" chemicals in your brain, which can help reduce the craving.

  • 3

    Regulate Your Eating

    Sometimes people have mid-day cravings because their dietary schedule is off.  Eat a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner around the same time every day and you will reduce your urge to indulge in sweets.

  • 4

    Clean Out Your Cupboard

    Don't make it easy to eat junk and sugary foods.  Keep them out of your home and your cabinets.  If you have leftover candy from Halloween, toss it or give it away. Clean out the junk from your cabinets, freezer and refrigerator. If you still want something sweet, keep lots of fruit on hand.

  • 5

    Take a Hot Shower

    Some people who experience sugar cravings have found that hot showers or baths provide relief.

  • 6

    Reduce Stress

    Avoid excess stress and get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.  When you are stressed or tired, it is easy to indulge in something sweet.

  • 7

    Avoid Triggers

    Try to avoid specific activities or places that give you cravings, such as walking past a fast food restaurant.