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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I curb my sweet cravings?

    Related Topic
    I have such a sweet tooth and find it impossible to stay away from desserts (which I crave throughout the day!) I am slightly overweight and know that I should work on this habit… advice?
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    Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last ... View Profile

    Sugar is addictive. The more sweet you eat the more sweet you crave. I am a ‘sweet’ person, so I eliminate it completely. Unless you are a person who can eat a little rather have non.

    There is no  single cure-all to this problem, but in general, the less sweets you eat, the less you'll crave them. So how do you get to that point? Here are a few tips that just might help you pull your own sweet tooth once and for all.

    • You should try to find a substitute. Generally, people tend to crave sweets after a meal or as a pick-me-up in the late afternoon. It might be helpful to have something else there and ready to fight off those cravings. For example, peppermint tea might work in the evening, a box of raisins in the afternoon, a piece of fruit, or anything else that you can think of that would be somewhat nutritious and easy to keep with you. If you must have “sweet,” go with something that's naturally sweet, such as dried fruit or even 100% fruit juice.
    • Often cravings disappear - Wait out the craving. Most nutrition experts say that the cravings you experience will only last a couple of minutes. So if you can wait it out, they will pass and you will be better for it. Try to occupy yourself for a good 10 minutes when you get a craving. Call a friend, take a short walk or do something to distract yourself.
    • You must set daily goals and reward yourself for meeting them. Take one day at a time. To a sugar addict, nothing is tougher than getting through the day without a sugary treat. The longer you can hold out, the easier it will become, so try to find a reward that would be worth holding out for. I did this about a year ago and gave myself a dollar for every day that I did not indulge in sweets, and at the end of the month, I would go get a manicure or buy myself something nice.
    • If you have a friend who also has sweet cravings recruit them to do it with you. If you are married or have a family, this would be a healthy habit for everyone to adopt. Clean out the cupboards and refrigerator of unhealthy foods and tempting treats. Make it a team effort. Hold each other accountable and support one another through the tough times.
    • Put yourself in good situations. If you are one who loves to use the vending machines at work or will drive through the local petrol station to fill up on snacks, then try to do things in a new way to prevent yourself from falling into old habits. Clean out all of the change and single dollar coins in your wallet so you aren't able to feed the vending machine. Make sure you fill up on petrol  when someone is with you or at your least vulnerable time normally early in the morning. Go grocery shopping after a meal, so you don’t load up on unhealthy foods.
    As hard as it might be to believe, you CAN quit the sugar habit. Not only will you probably lose some weight, but you will feel better and more energetic. Good luck!

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    Sharon Brooks

    Nutritionist

    Sharon, a Registered Nutritionist RNutr and Food Scientist runs a nutrition consulting business that specialises in proactive nutrition and disease prevention.Sharon runs corporate, school and ... View Profile

    Arlene has provided useful strategies. A few others…

    - If you change the ingredients in your favourite desserts such as replacing sugar with bananas and dates, you can still enjoy sweet foods- portion control is still important but you will be consuming fibre which will add bulk to fill you up sooner.

    - I don't recommend avoiding foods entirely if it is something you enjoy.- this usually leads to bingeing behaviour later on. Share desserts and consume sweets outside of the home so you do not associate hometime with this form of eating.

    Good luck!

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