Did you know that flavored yogurt in the United States has a lot more sugar than it does in other countries? That's because our national sweet tooth is out of control. And the more sugar we eat, the more we want.
Studies show that replacing sweet foods with sugar-free versions doesn't help. Artificial sweeteners don't satisfy a sugar craving.
The answer is to reset your taste buds for less sugar. According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, you can do this over a short amount of time, just as it's possible to reduce a desire for salt.
Cut back on the amount of sweets you eat every day, but do it gradually. Some experts say going cold turkey can lead to a binge later on. Resist temptation by limiting the cookie and candy stash in your kitchen cabinets. Add fruit to your diet -- you'll be getting nutrients along with the sweetness, something processed sugar won't give you.
Begin your day with a nourishing breakfast that includes protein. Buy unsweetened foods like plain yogurt, plain rolled oats, and 100 percent whole grain cereal, and sweeten them yourself. Just a sprinkle is all you need. Don't start the sugar cycle with a donut or pastry.
Finally, exercise. Research has found that, in addition to health benefits, exercise starts a chain reaction that lowers your desire for unhealthy, high-calorie foods.
Making better choices will help you break the sugar cycle. You'll be satisfied with low-sugar foods and appreciate sweets more as occasional treats.