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04/03/2013 10:52 am ET | Updated Apr 26, 2013

Dr. Oz On Sugar Addiction -- And Easy Ways To Kick It

If ice cream, cookies, cakes and soda are your ultimate Achilles' heel, fret not. There is hope! Here, Dr. Oz reveals easy ways to kick your sugar addiction.

By Dr. Mehmet Oz

Can’t seem to stay away from the sweet stuff? There’s a reason why. When you eat sugar, it stimulates the release of dopamine in your brain, which makes you feel pleasure. The brain recognizes and likes this feeling and begins to crave more. It may startle you to learn that heroin, morphine and sugar all stimulate the same receptors in your brain. And the dangers don’t just result in weight gain. Recent studies have linked sugar to the diseases you fear most, increasing your risk of kidney damage, heart disease and even cancer.

Here are some easy ways to kick your sugar habit.

Take Chromium Polynicotinate
Chromium polynicotinate is chromium bound to niacin (vitamin B3). Chromium plays an important role in insulin's regulation of blood glucose, and plays a role in energy production. Chromium polynicotinate prevents the spikes and dips of blood sugar. Take 200 mcg once a day at the start of any meal to prevent the sugar surges that often leave you reaching for more sugar later.

Add Fruit To Your Meals
By adding naturally sweet stuff to your meals, like healthy whole and dried fruit, you can trick your taste buds into thinking they’re getting sweets –- shutting down cravings before you reach for dessert. Try adding a spoonful of natural cranberry jam to your turkey sandwiches at lunchtime. Or cut up mango and add it to grilled chicken. You can even throw a handful of raisins into your rice. Use your imagination!

Follow The Half-And-Half Rule
If most of your sugar comes from drinks like soda and juice, dilute it with a half a cup of seltzer. This will immediately reduce your sugar intake by half! Continue to reduce the amount of the sugary drinks you consume as you go and, soon, you won’t even miss them.

Go For A Peanut Butter And Chocolate Combo
This tasty duo will satisfy even the most voracious sweet tooth. Melt a bar of dark chocolate and mix it into a jar of organic peanut butter. Leave it in the fridge so that it cools and the flavors blend. When a sugar craving strikes, have a spoonful. One spoonful has 4.5 grams of sugar. Compare this to your average brownie with a whopping 30 grams of sugar, and you’re well on your way to shaking your sugar habit in healthy ways you never thought possible!

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