Did you know you might end up consuming (even) more sugary foods because of certain habits?
To help you stay healthy, we found 3 common habits to avoid—we also suggest ways to tweak them!
1. Deprioritizing sleep
In a small study, participants who slept for only 4 hours for 2 days reported a >33% increase in cravings for foods with lots of carbs, including sweets (1). That's not surprising. After all, low-quality sleep is linked to higher cravings for sweet food and increases in confectionery/sweetened beverage intake (2,3).
To avoid overeating sweets, get enough quality shut-eye—generally 7 to 9 hours (4). Consider wearing earplugs and powering off devices to avoid getting disturbed.
Bonus hack: Enjoy 2 kiwis 1 hour before bedtime—eating kiwis can help adults fall asleep more easily and gain quality sleep (5).
2. Having icy drinks before or while eating
The temperature of what's consumed can affect sensitivity to certain tastes. For example, drinking iced water can reduce how sensitive you are to sweet tastes, as researchers from the University of Arkansas found: Chocolate sweetness was perceived lowest when participants rinsed their mouths with water at 4°C in contrast to when they did with water at 20°C or 50°C—all for just 5 seconds (6).
This finding implies that we just might consume more sweet foods after having iced water (or iced beverages in general) than if that drink were warmer. So, choose warm beverages over iced ones when you truly feel parched before/while having some sweet-tasting food. Thankfully, we have lots of warm drinks at our store, all for you to explore, too.
3. Eating sweets
Yes, this is meta (?)—and it’s true. The more we feed on sugar, the more tolerance we develop—that means, over time, we have to consume more sugar to taste the same level of sweetness...leading to a vicious cycle (7).
To avoid this looping nightmare, consider setting a goal, such as “Reduce calories from sugary foods by 10% this month.” That aligns with the experiment in a study where a group of participants replaced 40% of the calories they got from eating simple sugars with healthier sources like proteins, whereas another group did not (8,9).
The result? Within 3 months, the sweetness the first group tasted was around 40% higher than that detected by the other, which indicates they didn’t have to eat as much sugar to taste that level of sweetness (8).
To start out on this dietary shift, treat yourself to something filling whenever you're hungry—this way, you’ll likely feel too full afterwards to consume anything else, including sweets. A great option is oatmeal (we have lots in our store!), like Quaker Instant Flakes and Quaker Old Fashioned Cereal, which are better at reducing food cravings than their more sugary counterparts do (10).
Explore these strategies to rein in your sweet tooth—and try integrating these habit tweaks into your everyday lifestyle!
By Shawn Chang