Science-Approved Tricks to Outsmart Your Sugar Cravings

By: Jessica Migala

Overcome your urge for sweet treats, no matter how tempting the eye candy (or real candy!)

Photo: Emilija Manevska / Getty Images

Sugar cravings can be tough to shake. If you're staring down the candy bowl or desire a mid-afternoon brownie pick-me-up, here are three ways to help send your sweet tooth packing.

Must Read: I Gave Up Sugar for 30 Days—Here's What's Happened

Count to 25

Seriously: When Rush University researchers rigged a vending machine with a 25-second delay for less-healthy snacks, people were more likely to pick healthier items (those containing less than 10 grams of sugar). Immediate gratification can overwhelm willpower, but even a small pause seems to strengthen your resolve to make healthier choices. When a craving hits, see if waiting half a minute helps you choose a less-sugary snack.

Be Strategic with Your Morning Coffee

The real reason you want another doughnut with your coffee: the coffee! Cornell University researchers found that people who drank moderately sweetened, caffeinated coffee rated their drink as less sweet compared to those who sipped the decaf version containing the same amount of sugar. Caffeine appears to blunt your sweet taste receptors, meaning you need more sugar for food to register as sweet. Don't worry, you don't have to give up your a.m. java. Instead, pair your coffee with something savory, like a whole-wheat bagel with veggie cream cheese, and save your sweet treat for later in the day—when you can better enjoy it.

Try one of these meal-prep breakfast recipes for a healthy start to your morning.

Get 40 Winks

Getting more sleep tonight may help you keep your fork out of the tiramisù tomorrow. In people who normally snagged less than seven hours of zzz's per night, getting an extra 45 minutes of sleep helped them slash their sugar intake the next day by nearly 10 grams (that's 2 1/2 teaspoons of sugar) compared with those who didn't up their snooze time, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Sleep-deprived brains get stronger reward signals from junk food than well-rested ones, possibly driving you to reach for less-nutritious fare.

Check out these 9 Foods to Help You Sleep

Watch: What a No-Sugar-Added Day Looks Like

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