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Healthy Ways To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Cravings

Healthy Ways To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Cravings

There are segments of the population who proudly proclaim that they have a sweet tooth. That preference for desserts and all things sugary often means a love for cakes, ice cream, cookies, and donuts. That also means, however, the chance for elevated triglycerides, weight gain, poor nutrition, as well as tooth decay.

Studies have been made to understand the origins of sweet taste perception. One such study demonstrated that there are two sweet receptor genes (TAS1R2 and TAS1R3), and alleles of one of the two genes predicted the avidity with which some mammals drink sweet solutions.

Yet another study discovered that individuals differed significantly in peak-preferred levels of sugar, both generally across foods and with some variation relatively among foods. Shockingly, this proves that a sweet tooth does exist. There is a strong affinity for sweet foods and a liking for strongly sweetened foods.

Sugar in Many Forms

For its part, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that both adults and children keep their intake of added sugars to less than 10 percent of daily calories. For those with a sweet tooth, this amounts to about 12 teaspoons of sugar. To control sugar intake, it’s important to become aware of the sources of sugar in your diet.

To start, you might have to undertake that most boring of tasks that is reading food labels. Sugar goes by many aliases, including corn syrup, molasses, honey, high-fructose corn syrup, malt sugar, and dextrose. There is such a thing as natural sugar that one can find in foods such as fruit, milk, and plain yogurt. Added sugar is what is added to food or beverages, either in processing (as in softdrinks and flavored yogurt) or in preparation (when one adds sugar to their coffee).

Because food with naturally occurring sugars usually contains other beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, recommendations about sugar consumption typically don’t include them.

Cutting Down on Sugar

Other helpful tips for cutting sugar consumption in your diet include:

  • Investigate the sugar content of your favorite food. Minimize the amount of added sugar in your food selections and be on the lookout for sweeteners.
  • Buy and eat fewer processed food. Purchase more whole foods, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and experiment with new recipes.
  • Change your environment. Exchange the candy bowl at work or at home with a fruit bowl.

The first piece of advice you should follow, says Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, author of 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman’s Diet, is “Dump the fat-free desserts.”

“Ounce for ounce, most fat-free desserts are just as calorie-rich as the higher-fat version,” says Somer. “And even if they are low-cal, you aren’t giving yourself a leg up by eating a whole box.”

Chocolate as a Cure-All for Sweeth Tooth?

Chocolate has been shown to stimulate the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, including endorphins and serotonin. Temptation for many of us means chocolate, despite its calories and tendency to trigger heartburn.

The solution for both your diet and your heartburn? Think small but luscious. Cut up any kind of fruit you like, then dip the pieces in chocolate syrup. This gives you the chocolate taste you want with the nutritional value of the fruit.

You can also indulge your chocolate fantasies, Somer says, with a mug of hot chocolate (made from high-quality cocoa or chocolate bars, not the powdered instant variety), or a couple of Choco Mallows.

Since not all chocolate snacks are created equal, many are high in calories, added sugars, and highly processed ingredients. When buying a chocolate snack, consider the product’s nutritional content and ingredient quality.

Even as those of us who have a passion for sweets actively look to satisfy our sweet tooth cravings, it should still be done in moderation. Avoiding the pitfalls of overindulgence in sugary things shouldn’t be taken for granted but the good news is that there are ways (through chocolate no less) to slightly get around them.

Learn other Diet and Weightloss Tips here.

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Sources

Nutrition and healthy eating,  https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/simple-steps-for-cutting-sugar-from-your-diet/art-20270172t, Accessed November 24, 2021

14 ‘Healthy’ Chocolate Snacks to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthy-chocolate-snacks,  Accessed November 24, 2021

Indulging Your Sweet Tooth, https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/indulging-your-sweet-tooth, Accessed November 24, 2021

The Human Sweet Tooth, https://bmcoralhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6831-6-S1-S17, Accessed November 24, 2021

Sweet tooth demonstrated: Individual differences in preference for both sweet foods and foods highly sweetened, https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1988-25319-001, Accessed November 24, 2021

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Written by Jason Inocencio Updated Apr 19
Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen