Does 4 o’clock roll around and you just can’t imagine moving forward with your day without a sugary snack? Does dinner not feel complete unless you satisfy your sweet tooth after? Sugar cravings are real — and the more sugar you eat, the more sugar your body wants — so it can feel like a never-ending cycle. If you’re trying to get off the sugar hamster wheel, there are two totally easy tricks everyone can use to finally kick those cravings to the curb.
The first one involves taking a whiff of a very specific scent: vanilla. Michelle Schoffro Cook, author of 60 Seconds to Slim: Balance Your Body Chemistry to Burn Fat Fast! ($5.97, Amazon), cites research done at St. George’s Hospital in London, in which they tested patches of various scents to see if particular aromas could reduce cravings of chocolate and other sweet foods and drinks.
Of all the participants, those who were given the vanilla scented patches, which they wore on their hands, showed the most amount of weight loss versus those who had been given lemon or dummy patches. According to the research, the vanilla helped those people feel more in control of what they ate and maintain a positive eating change. This might be because the scent triggers serotonin production, which can decrease hunger.
Overall, the lucky vanilla-smelling participants were able to lose 4.5 pounds after four weeks without any additional weight loss techniques. Saying no to sweets might be difficult, but having a vanilla perfume rollerball ($9.02, Amazon) or something vanilla scented on hand to whiff when you get the urge can clearly make a difference.
The other trick requires a bit more work — and a stash of citrus fruit. Try to pay attention to the time of day when you feel sugar cravings hit the hardest. Instead of reaching for a sweet treat, grab an orange, grapefruit, or whatever your favorite citrus might be and snack on that instead. A 2016 study showed two flavonoids in the zesty fruit (naringenin and hesperidin) can help balance blood sugar levels. By lowering the amount of insulin needed to maintain that balance, you’re less likely to crave other sugary foods.
The next time you find yourself jonesing for a sweet afternoon pick-me-up, try one of these tricks instead!
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