After reading about all the horrifying ways added sugars are bad for you, it's difficult to resist the urge to quit them cold turkey, which would be nearly impossible. Prevention asked their experts for their best advice on how to break free from the sweet stuff without losing your mind.
Swap out sugar, not the foods you love. Sugar hides out under a bevy of confusing names, so it's no wonder we've become inadvertently hooked on the stuff. Check the nutrition facts and ingredients list of breads, crackers, pasta sauces, soups, and condiments — products that frequently contain excess sweetness. "Then see if you can find alternative brands with fewer or no added sugars," says Wendy Bazilian, RD, author of The SuperfoodsRx Diet. We promise you that you can. And in foods that are supposed to be savory anyway, like tomato soup, you won't even miss it.
Snack, then attack. Ah, the power of distraction. A study at the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab asked subjects to eat only one quarter of an afternoon snack (chocolate, apple pie, or chips) and then busy themselves by either tidying up their offices or returning phone calls. "Fifteen minutes later, they rated themselves as feeling full and satisfied, even after only eating a fourth of the snack," says Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Slim By Designand the lab's lead researcher. Try the technique in your own office by scheduling snack time right before a task that needs doing.
>> Read more: Snacks to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight
Trick your brain. "A lot of times, when we feel a craving for sugar, it's really a craving to thank or reward ourselves for something," says Wansink. Luckily, his lab found a way to trick people into eating less of the sweet stuff. At snack and meal times, his researchers offered subjects an array of snacking options: fresh fruits and veggies, chips, sugary chocolate. Then they were asked to express one thing about their day that they were grateful for by writing the sentiment down, saying it out loud, or whispering it under their breath. In every situation, Wansink's team found that giving thanks caused subjects to reach for the produce — not the sweets and chips.
>> Read more: Slim Down with 30 Days of Healthy Snacks
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