Reprogram your sweet tooth

We may be genetically predisposed to crave sweets, but there are things you can do to tame the sweet tooth in kids and adults, according to an article by the SMH's health writer Paula Goodyear.

She interviewed neuroscientist Dr Amanda Sainsbury-Salis from the Garvan Institute for Medical Research, who says that eating a wide variety of food with different flavours makes a penchant for sweet flavours less likely.

"Expose yourself to a wide variety of good, minimally processed foods - and don't eat too much of any one food," is her advice.

She also warns that if you're trying to cut out sweet foods, or lose weight through a low-kilojoule diet, you'll need to ensure that sweet cravings don't defeat you. Sometimes reduced food intake can trigger brain chemicals such as neuropeptide Y, orexins and melanin-concentrating hormone that make us more likely to want sweet things.

Her solution is not to fast, but to eat a proper meal. "... if you're hungry and have a sweet craving, the best strategy is to satisfy the hunger first by eating a real meal with vegetables - lean meat or fish and complex carbs, for instance - then have the creme caramel afterwards. This will help prevent you from snacking on more and more sweet things."

So how do you tame to calling of the sweet tooth? I find miminising the amount of sweets in the house helps - and portion control too. Open tubs of ice cream in the freezer is asking for trouble! Share tips in comments.

Reprogram your sweet tooth [SMH]


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