START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

7 Tricks to Tame Your Sweet Tooth

7 Tricks to Tame Your Sweet Tooth

 

The average American now consumes some 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. And our sweet tooth isn’t just making us fat — it’s triggering all kinds of inflammation, fueling chronic diseases and even increasing our risks of cancer.
Tame Your Sweet Tooth

When it comes to sugar, it helps to be strategic, says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD: “I’m not saying you can’t have pleasure in the form of sugar, but it’s time to start making informed choices.”

Here are some tips:

  • Put protein, healthy fat and fiber in the mix. All of them slow down the digestion process, averting blood-sugar spikes. Get creative by adding slow-digesting nutrients to your favorite sweets. If you’re going to have jam on your toast, make sure you’re also having an egg, some nut butter or other fat with your breakfast. If you’re going to eat cereal, put some walnuts on it. Top pear slices with crumbled Gorgonzola. Choose dark chocolate, which contains some fat, over fat-free candies.

Related: How to Eat More Fiber at Every Meal

  • Treat all sugars equally. “The taste buds don’t care if you’re eating raw sugar or high-fructose corn syrup,” says David Katz, MD. “If you bathe them in sweetness, they are going to want more, more, more.” Yes, some sweeteners, like honey, maple syrup and molasses, contain a few beneficial micronutrients. But, in the long run, putting health halos on some sweeteners and demonizing others only perpetuates an unhealthy addiction to sweets.

  • Do the math. Food labels list sugar in grams. A gram of sugar is hard to picture, so divide the number of grams by 4. Four grams of sugar equals a teaspoon. In 2009, the American Heart Association advised adults to eat no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugars a day for women and 9 teaspoons for men (recommendations are based on average weight for women and men).
  • Prioritize low-sugar fruit. When it comes to sugar, not all fruits are created equal. Inside the body, some fruits, such as bananas, convert to sugar more quickly than others, like raspberries, clementines and strawberries. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy a banana now and then, but just try not to overdo it.  See: Which Fruits Have the Most & Least Sugar?

Related: 10 Surprisingly Sugary Foods

 

  • Don’t fall for fake. Artificial sweeteners, often used in diet drinks, are non-caloric chemicals designed to stimulate the sweet receptors in the mouth. Aside from their questionable safety, a pressing concern is that these chemicals are up to 600 times sweeter than sugar itself. “When people rely on artificial sweeteners, they tend to prefer all of their other foods sweeter because the intensity of the sweetener propagates a sweet tooth,” says Katz. “You are simply cultivating a preference for more sugar.”

Related: Dangers of Diet Soda

  • Curb omega-6 fatty acids. High levels of carbohydrates, including sugar, in the diet activate the enzymes that convert the omega-6 fatty acids found in common vegetable oils, such as soy, corn and safflower oil, into arachidonic acid, the building block necessary to generate cellular inflammation, says Barry Sears, PhD, creator of the Zone Diet and author of the Anti-Inflammation Zone: Reversing the Silent Epidemic That’s Destroying Our Health (Harper Collins, 2005). “A diet rich in refined carbohydrates and omega-6 fats is like adding a lighted match to a barrel of gasoline. Americans have been doing this for 30 years.”

  • Limit fruit juice. Remember, it’s the fiber as well as the nutritional value that makes fruit a win-win. Fiber is what makes fruit filling. Depending on its size, an orange may pack up to 4 teaspoons of sugar, but that sugar is absorbed over a couple of hours. Compare that to the 8 teaspoons of sugar in 8 ounces of orange juice that is absorbed in 20 minutes. “That sugar is hyper-absorbed,” says Henry Lodge, MD. “Remember that insulin is released according to how much sugar gets into your bloodstream and how quickly.”

The trick to enjoying the sweet things in life is to ferret out hidden sugars in the diet and save small doses of sugar for dessert, where it belongs. “You can subtract grams and grams of sugar out of your diet without ever touching dessert,” says Katz. “You can systematically reverse-engineer the damage the modern food supply is doing to your body by simply making better choices.”

Where Sugar Hides:

Sugars abound in virtually every meal. Four grams equals 1 teaspoon.

Spaghetti sauce (1 cup) 23 grams
Frosted Flakes (1 cup) 15 grams
Barbecue sauce (1/2 cup) 33 grams
Cola (1 can) 33 grams
French dressing (1 tbs.) 3 grams
Ketchup (1 tbs.) 3 grams
Pineapple (canned in syrup) (1 cup) 43 grams
Low-fat chocolate milk (1 cup) 25 grams
Pink lemonade (from concentrate) (1 cup) 25 grams
Water with added vitamins (1 cup) 13 grams
Fat-free fruit yogurt (1 cup) 47 grams
Bottled ice tea (1 cup) 22 grams

10 Surprisingly Sugary Foods
Is Sugar Toxic?
Is Sugar Sapping Your Memory?

 

Read more: Conditions, Eating for Health, Health, , , , , ,

By Catherine Guthrie, Experience Life

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Megan, selected from Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.

514 comments

+ add your own
7:29AM PST on Feb 9, 2014

A sweet tooth is like smoking.. hard to kick the habit, TY for the tips though :)

6:54AM PST on Jan 25, 2014

great article. definitely need to try some of these tips...lol

7:26AM PST on Jan 23, 2014

Very interesting article thankyou for sharing

5:12AM PST on Jan 21, 2014

I wish myself good luck....I try and try and try....

send a green star

2:01AM PST on Jan 20, 2014

Thank you :)

11:58AM PST on Jan 19, 2014

Always read labels for sugar content - and if you like to drink fruit juice, make sure you check the label - concentrates of fruit juice is SO full of sugar! It amazes me how some people think drinking juice instead of carbonated soda is a healthier thing for them - yes, there are a lot of vitamins &tc, but fruit juice in a concentrated form is incredibly loaded with sugar. If I want fruit juice, I usually cut it with water.

MILK is also full of sugar! And yogurt has an amazing amount of sugar. Read content labels and be healthier.

2:43AM PST on Jan 19, 2014

Thanks

6:59PM PST on Jan 16, 2014

Thanks for this sweet information

6:52PM PST on Jan 16, 2014

Ty

3:27PM PST on Dec 5, 2013

Thanks so much for sharing.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Silly kitty! If given half a chance, my cat would probably do the same thing. Glad to know mine's …

Thank you for the article...

I'll try this in my tomatoes. Thanks.

Sometimes compost isn't wet enough and it works to add leftover coffee instead of water to it. Also,…

Thanks.

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.