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It's Not Me, It's You: 3 Ways to Break-up with Your Sugar Addiction

By Caroline Jacobson on October 6, 2015 in Healthy Living

We all crave sugar. But there are ways to cut ties with this sweet addiction.

No matter how hard we try, we just can't seem to quit the sweet stuff. In fact, the average American consumes more than 126 grams of sugar per day, making the U.S. the most sugar-obsessed country in the world.

It's common knowledge that too much sugar can harm your weight, liver, brain and teeth. So why can't we quit you, sugar?

There's more to sugar than its sinfully sweet taste.

When your brain experiences sugar, it's love at first sight. That spark is due to dopamine — also known as the “feel-good hormone.” Sugar fuels dopamine, which causes your brain to light up and literally crave more.

You don't have to shut sugar out of your life completely or go cold-turkey, but it doesn't hurt to keep an eye on how much sugar you're actually consuming.

Soften the blow with 3 smart sugar strategies:

• You can do so much better…read the ingredients.

Take extra time at the grocery store to read product labels. Unfortunately, sugar doesn't go by one name. There are 56 different names for the sweet stuff! Use this list at your next supermarket stop.

It's important to remember nearly all foods contain some sort of sugar — even ones that don't taste sweet. When in doubt, consume fruits and veggies containing natural sugar. Added sugars don't deserve you.

• Everything happens for a reason…including sugar cravings.

Think before you eat. When's the last time you drank water? A dip in energy often signals dehydration. And dehydration causes you to think you need to eat when all you really need is H2O. So before you reach for a sugary snack, make sure to hydrate first and see if the craving will pass.

• See what else is out there…explore sugar substitute.

Sugar substitutes are in pre-packaged foods and can be used at home too. Unlike sugar, they can help with weight control and won't contribute to tooth decay and cavities.

If you want to take the natural route, xylitol is a step in the right direction. Xylitol is a sweetener that occurs naturally and is found in many fruits and vegetables, including mushrooms and berries. It has a lower glycemic index than sugar, making it a healthier option. Find a sugar substitute that works for you.

Challenge yourself! Cut ties with excessive sugar consumption and you'll be better off in the long run.

We want to hear your sugar strategies — How do you control your cravings?