Sugar has been called an addictive drug that's more dangerous than tobacco, but Dr. Mehmet Oz said we can break the addiction through simple behavior modification.
Dr. Oz revealed his tips for breaking the sugar addiction on the Oct. 24 episode of his talk show.
He suggested a four-pronged, four-week approach to freeing yourself from sugar addiction:
- Eat a balanced breakfast with protein and fiber to stave off sugar cravings later in the morning.
- Eliminate hidden sugars around your house. Common household foods that contain hidden sugar include peanut butter, mayonnaise, pasta sauce and yogurt.
- Use alternative sweeteners such as agave or stevia.
- Trick your taste buds by finding ways to replace the sugar with something else, such as cinnamon.
Dr. Oz said breaking the sugar addiction could take up to a month because it takes time for your brain to adjust to a new habit. "It takes three to four weeks for the brain to rewire itself and get comfortable with a new habit," he said.
Dr. Oz also warned that when considering low-fat foods, keep in mind the fat is usually replaced by sugar, which doctors say is far worse at promoting obesity and diabetes.
Weight-loss experts say increasing the amount of healthy fats in your diet (including olive oil, grass-fed butter, full-fat cheese, nuts and animal proteins) will dramatically reduce sugar cravings. This is because fat is more satiating than carbs — or even protein — and takes longer to digest.
"Eat lots of fat," said Dr. Eric Westman, a nationally renowned obesity expert. "Fat makes you feel full. There's no problem with fat. In fact, saturated fat — the fat that we've been taught not to eat — raises your good cholesterol best of all the foods you can eat."
Finally, Dr. Oz reminded viewers that it's important to model positive, healthy eating habits for your children because they will ultimately pick up whatever habits you have.
"Once you bring the junk into the house, the kids will overwhelm you and get to it," he said. "So make decisions where you control the kids' destiny: Bring healthy stuff into the house and let them eat whatever they want, because everything is healthy."