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Fighting Food Cravings With Healthy Sweets


Anyone who's ever done a fast, cleanse or diet can tell you how hard it is to eliminate sugar from your daily routine. Sugar is tasty, addictive, and it is insidious – it's in almost everything! Yet if there's one simple trick that can help eliminate sugar cravings, it's to eat foods that are healthy and naturally sweet, like ripe, fresh fruit.

There are many reasons to avoid refined sugar. Sugar has been linked to more diseases than almost any food ingredient, from immune system suppression to diabetes. Artificial sugar substitutes are even worse, with a list of toxicity risks and reactions.

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The trouble is, sugar is very difficult to ignore. It's addictive – try eating just one sugar cookie with the package in front of you and you'll see just how addictive! It's also present in virtually every pre-made food item, from meat and poultry seasonings to salad dressing and sauces to juices and canned fruit. To really avoid sugar, you have to become adept at reading labels and strict about not eating the white stuff.

The real key is breaking the cravings. One of the best ways to do so is to substitute natural sweets for foods containing sugar. If you know you'll be craving a donut at ten in the morning, plan ahead and bring a banana or another piece of fruit to munch on when the sugar cravings start. If you crave chocolate at four in the afternoon, keep some dried figs or dates handy – dried fruits are a good source of vitamins and minerals, as well as natural sugars.

Other good sugar substitutes are snacks that combine healthy carbohydrates and protein, like a mixture of nuts (protein and healthy carbs) and raisins (sweet), or rye crackers (carbs) with cheese (protein). It takes planning and commitment, but without too much trouble you can avoid buckling to sugar cravings even without a great deal of willpower.

Suite101.com, "Sugars: The Bad," September 9, 2006.