Surviving Your Sweets Cravings

Nutritionist J.J. Virgin, CNS, CHFI offers tips on how to not give in to your cravings when it comes to sweets.

1. Go for the mint. Brush your teeth right after a meal or snack so you get the food taste out of your mouth as soon as possible.

2. Keep a snack handy. Eat your High-Response Cost meals and snacks on schedule to keep your blood sugar stable. If you "forget to eat," when you remember it will probably be because you are starving! It is hard to be reasonable when your brain wants quick energy immediately (i.e. sugar), so avoid this by never letting yourself get more than a little hungry. And always keep an emergency snack handy (10 raw nuts, an apple or a healthy snack bar).

3. Get your protein in consistently. Protein helps keep you fuller longer and releases the hormone glucagon which balances out insulin.

4. Use fruit to taper off sugar. Keep grapes in the freezer and pop one in your mouth when you get a craving.

5. Find out which foods sugar is hiding in. You can't cut it out if you don't know it's there!

6. Retrain your sweet tooth. Taper off sweet tastes by switching over to spicy or savory.

7. Dump the caffeine. Coffee, soda and tea exacerbate sweet cravings and can make you insulin resistant. (Read Dr. Diaz's "Top 10 Beverages to Avoid.")

8. Get enough sleep and manage your stress. Problems with either of these will make you crave sweets to raise serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical.

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