Two out of three adult Americans are overweight or obese, and the nation's insatiable sweet tooth is at least partially to blame, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. The average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar per day -- triple to quadruple the 6- to 9-teaspoon limit recommended by the American Heart Association. While giving up sugar will aid your weight loss efforts and improve your overall health, it will be difficult to curb cravings, but be patient and keep trying.
Drink water instead of soda or juice. The average 20-ounce soda contains a whopping 15 to 18 teaspoons of sugar and 240 calories, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Fruit juices and sports drinks are similarly sugary, so water is your healthiest option. If you can't stand the taste of water from the tap, squeeze a lemon into a glass of sparkling water for a refreshing drink.
Eat regularly. When you skip meals, your blood sugar drops and your cravings for sugary foods increase, reports the University of California. Keep your sugar levels stable by eating a small meal or snack every three to four hours. Combine protein with whole grains to keep your stomach full and prevent overeating later. For instance, you might have an apple with peanut butter or an egg on whole-grain toast.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with natural sugars. Instead of reaching for a candy bar, take a bite of an apple instead. Fruit is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals and sweetened with a naturally occurring sugar called fructose. It may take time, but eventually your taste buds will adjust to the flavor of real food.
Skip your morning Joe. Caffeine found in coffee and tea can mess with your blood sugar, says the University of California, leaving you vulnerable to the whims of your sweet tooth. Drink decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea instead.
Partner with a friend or family member. Giving up sugar can be incredibly difficult, and your chances of success are better if you have some form of accountability. Ask a loved one to join you in your healthy eating and weight-loss journey. Keep a food journal and swap it with your friend so that someone else will know if you slip up and eat a piece of cake. Guilt can be a powerful motivator for sticking with a sugar-free diet.
Weight-loss journeys are often fraught with difficult emotions and feelings. Consider sharing your journey with a therapist who can suggest techniques for coping with cravings and emotional eating.