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2. Track cravings and check for patterns

The key is to identify emotional triggers, times of day, energy levels and physical circumstances that are connected to the onset of the most powerful sugar cravings. Recording these variables and studying them will allow addicts to detect the patterns that prevent them from avoiding excessive sugar. Plus the activity of observation itself will make them more conscious of their behavior and help eliminate thoughtless sugar consumption.

3. Practice gradual withdrawal

Quitting ‘cold turkey’ relies solely on willpower, and willpower is vastly overrated. Most of us possess some of it, but not nearly as much as we think.

One great way to withdraw gradually from sugar is to continue eating it only on alternate days. After a couple of weeks, the addict could move to two days with no sugar followed by one day with it . And then three days and one; and four and one; and so on until the time between ‘off’ days and the occasional ‘on’ day is so long that the pull of the addiction is no longer really felt.

4. Understand the role of sleep deprivation, and don’t underestimate it

A 2012 study that appeared in the journal American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that sleep deficits increase the intensity of sugar cravings in compulsive sugar-eaters. The brain’s reward centers that tune into sugar are more active when the body is sleep-deprived, since the brain seeks a quick boost of energy to lift the foggy feeling brought on by lack of sleep .