There’s always an excuse for a sugar binge. A holiday, a birthday or even a breakup seems like the perfect time to break out the sweet stuff. But you don’t have to be a slave to sugar! Learn how to avoid it and how to quell your sugar cravings for good.

Know Your Sugars

The sneakiest thing about sugar is that you could be binging without realizing it. Sugar shows up in yogurt, snacks and bread traveling under all kinds of sneaky labels, like blackstrap molasses, evaporated cane juice and organic brown rice syrup. (Yup, that all counts as sugar.) Read your food label and learn all the names for sugar to see if your snack is really a sugar bomb in disguise.

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Pour Out The Juice

Think soda’s the only sugar-loaded drink you need to avoid? Unfortunately, that’s not true. Juice is just as bad, according to Robert Lustig, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. Without the fiber of whole fruit, juice is just sugar -- and while your soda contains 5.4 teaspoons of sugar per cup, a cup of 100 percent orange juice contains the same amount, according to Lustig.

Try Smart Subs

Swap out sugar for something just as sweet, but much healthier. Organic milk, grated carrots and even a pinch of salt can turn up the sweetness or add flavor without sending your liver into a fructose binge.  

Stop Staring

Just watching advertisements for high-fat, high-calorie or high-sugar foods stimulates parts of your brain responsible for controlling hunger according to a study led by Kathleen Page, MD, assistant professor of medicine at University of Southern California, Los Angeles. When commercials strike, head to the kitchen to glance lovingly at low-cal health foods and your brain will return to normal.

Think Outside The Sweet Stuff

Sure, cookies are obvious sugar bombs. But processed foods that aren’t necessarily sweet can still pack a sugary load. Breads, salad dressings, crackers and pasta sauces are all likely sources of sugar, according to David Katz, MD, MPH, who is upwave's Diet/Nutrition expert, a Prevention advisor and director of Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine. Once you curb excess sugar intake, your taste buds will be happier with lower levels.

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Om Your Cravings Away

Exercise helps pretty much everything, from depression to joint health. You can add sugar cravings to that list: “Yoga trains and reprograms the mind so it can come back to a calm and neutral state free of anxieties and cravings,” says Tara Stiles, star of the Yoga Anywhere DVD series and author of Yoga Cures.

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