How to Avoid a Sugar Addiction

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(Image credit: Banana dessert photo via Shutterstock)

Although I make an effort to eat healthy every day, there are times when I just crave something sweet (and less-than healthy). Normally, I would go for a nutritious homemade frozen yogurt pop, but when I'm out and about, I don't have that option.

There are times when I succumb to my temptation and enjoy a decadent dessert. I don't bother feeling guilty about it, but I do know I have to work extra hard in the days to come. Not only will I have extra calories to work off, but I have to be careful not to fall victim to a sugar addiction.

According to a 2002 study by Princeton University researchers, sugar may actually be addicting. Researchers studied rats that were allowed to binge on sugar. After the sugar was taken away, the rats showed signs of withdrawal, including "the shakes," and changes in brain chemistry. Although they would have seen more pronounced effects from addicting drugs, the withdrawal symptoms were the same, according to the study.

That may very well be why it's so hard to stick to your diet after "treating yourself" to a sugary treat. If you want to stick to your diet, it's better to avoid the sweets in the first place.

 Here are a few low-sugar snacks to help ward off addiction, and keep your diet on track:

  1. Bananas and peanut butter:  Bananas are sweet, so they can satisfy your craving, but this snack doesn't have any added sugar. It's a quick and fiber-rich snack that will keep you feeling full and satisfied.
  2. Yogurt: You can make your own frozen yogurt bars by simply freezing the yogurt in a popsicle tray. Add fresh berries for a little more natural sweetness.
  3. Hummus and vegetables: Keep some hummus and veggies in the fridge for when the snack cravings arrive. Baby carrots and celery work well.
  4. No-sugar-added fruit popsicles: Fruit is rather sweet on its own, so you won't miss the added sugar. And, these will satisfy your craving for something sweet.
  5. Baked apples and cinnamon: Cut apples into slices and put them on a baking sheet with some cinnamon. Bake at 375 degrees for about  half an hour, and you'll have a sweet and healthy dessert.
  6. Cheese and crackers: Because cheese is high in cholesterol, you should make this an occasional treat, but it's one that will feel indulgent.
  7. Apple and almonds: If you're going to be running errands all day, bring these snacks along with you, so you don't have to go looking for something to satisfy your hunger cravings.

Healthy Bites appears on MyHealthNewsDaily on Wednesdays. Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!

Deborah Enos
Deborah Enos, CN, also known as "The One-Minute Wellness Coach," is The Health Coach for busy, working people. She pares her good-health messages down to simple and fast bullet points that can impact lives in 60 seconds or less. Deborah serves as a board member of the American Heart Association.  In addition to writing the Healthy Bites column for Live Science, Deborah is a regular on FOX Business News, NBC and ABC, and is a frequent contributor to The Costco Connection, Parade Magazine, Self Magazine, Good Housekeeping and USA Today. Deborah is also The One Minute Wellness Coach for The Doctors TV Show.