Do artificial sweeteners feed this addictive cycle? “There’s no scientific consensus on this,” Gearhardt says.
If you stop eating foods with added sugar for a while, can you reduce your craving for sweets? Anecdotally, the answer seems to be yes. But there’s been little research on this.
Are there substitute foods that can help rein in your desire for sugary treats? Not really, but substituting a food with a lower glycemic index may stave off that spike-and-crash cycle of blood sugar that researchers think drives craving.
(You can find a list of 100 foods and their glycemic index by searching for “Harvard Health glycemic list.”)
Cheskin advises behavioral routes to change. Keep a record of your eating patterns, and you might identify your own triggers for less-than-healthy snacking – a place, a mood, a response to stress. Then you can make a plan to manage those triggers, he says. “Do you snack when you come home from a stressful day at work? Substitute something else relaxing – maybe a walk.”