You know you're getting into the holiday spirit when the movie Elf is on repeat in your DVD player. If this is the case, let's just hope you aren't influenced by Will Ferrell's bad dietary habits, which include copious amounts of candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup! We may not be guzzling down bottles of syrup, but when confronted with tables full of cookies, candies, chocolates, and cake, what's a girl to do? Other than exercising some restrain, here are some helpful tips that will help curb your sweet tooth during the holiday season.
- Chew Gum: According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, distracting your taste buds with something like mint-flavored gum, you can help keep cravings at bay. Who wants to eat cake when they can still taste the gum that was just in their mouth? Dr. Oz also suggests brushing your teeth or gargling with mouthwash to prevent the food taste from lingering on your palate, which usually makes you just crave it more.
- Find the Fruit Tray: Sugar is a tricky little substance. The taste of it alone releases endorphins that calm and relax us — hence many people are addicted to it. Certified addiction specialist Judy Chambers, LCSW, CAS, suggests snacking on fruit when a sugar craving hits. Fruit provides fiber and nutrients along with some sweetness. Be sure to reach for low-glycemic options like blackberries, apples, or pears.
- A Tiny Bite: If you can handle a small treat and stop after a few bites, then go for it. Even better, get your hands on a small piece of dark chocolate that's at least 75 percent or higher cacao — this will satisfy your craving without causing a blood sugar spike. Integrative health expert Dr. Frank Lipman says that an occasional treat isn't a failure. But if you do fall off the wagon — perhaps by gorging on an entire plate of cookies — Lipman says, "Don't get down on yourself if you slip. Just dust yourself off and get back in the saddle."
- Check Your Vitamin D Levels: No matter how many tricks of the trade you try to follow to curb your sugar addiction, if you are low in vitamin D, that may all be irrelevant. A study conducted at Laval University in Quebec, Canada, found that vitamin D can help curb your appetite by increasing sensitivity to leptin, the hormone responsible for telling the brain that the stomach is full. It's best to make an appointment with your doctor to see if your levels are in check.