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We all like a little something sweet. And we all know there can be too much of a good thing. How can you ensure moderation when the candy bowl calls? Use these tricks to outsmart your sweet tooth!
Your brain is the best defense against your taste buds. Know your limit. The FDA recommends no more than 12.5 teaspoons, or 50 grams, of added sugar each day. If you read labels on everything you eat and drink during the day, you can calculate the sugar stopping point to stay on track for proper nutrition.
But that’s a lot of math. Instead, here’s an important tip followed by a few tricks to help you outsmart your sweet tooth.
Before giving in to a sweet temptation, keep in mind that craving can lead to cavities. Don’t want to face the drill? Try these things instead:
1. Chew sugar-free gum. A study by Louisiana State University found that chewing gum may reduce snack cravings. It’s also useful for cleaning your mouth. Gum prompts saliva production that washes away leftover food particles and reduces acids that threaten tooth enamel.
2. Distract yourself when a craving hits. Taking a walk has been shown to reduce the urge to eat treats. Plus, it gets you away from the candy bowl. You know what they say – out of sight, out of mind. And if you don’t feel like taking a stroll, do an activity that rewards you for skipping the sweets.
3. Keep healthy substitutes close by. When you really want something sweet, choose naturally sweet foods like fruits and vegetables. Apples, cherries, bell peppers, carrots, grapes and others will give you the taste you want and the nutrients you need.
4. Eat at consistent intervals. If your tummy’s grumbling, you might make unhealthy decisions like reaching for a candy bar instead of a nutritious snack. Eat every three to five hours to keep blood sugar in check and maintain a level head.
5. Power up with protein. Low protein levels can cause you to start craving sugar. Your body wants an energy boost and sugar is a quick source. Plan to get protein throughout the day with foods such as beans, eggs, nuts, fish and lean meats.
Even with moderation, good oral health habits are still key to avoid cavities. Clean your teeth and gums after consuming sugar by brushing for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste and flossing. If you can’t sneak away to a sink, chew sugar-free gum and drink plenty of water.