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Updated 13 July 2017

3 easy ways to reduce your sugar cravings

By making small adjustments to your habits, you can reset your taste buds to crave less sugar over time.

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In April 2017, a 10% sugar tax on sugary beverages was put into place by the South African government. This measure was taken to help curb the growing obesity rate in South Africa.

As reported in a previous Health24 article, South Africa was in need of such a sugar tax because of the massive and growing obesity epidemic. The figures for obesity-related lifestyle diseases are now on par with other diseases such as HIV and TB.

About 40% of South African women and 11% of men suffer from obesity. And 25% of teenage girls in rural South Africa are overweight or obese.

Don't fall for 'sugar-free' labels

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.

You can curb your sugar intake and reduce your sugar craving over a small amount of time by making realistic, gradual measures.

1. Cut back 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.

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2. Begin your day with a nourishing breakfast 

Buy unsweetened foods like plain yogurt, plain rolled oats, and 100% whole grain cereal, and sweeten them yourself. Just a sprinkle is all you need. Don't start the sugar cycle with a doughnut or pastry.

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3. Get some 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.

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Read more:

Slashing sugar intake fights obesity and tooth decay

Shocking: See what accounts for more than a third of your daily sugar intake

Sweetened drinks linked to depression

 
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