Snack Time.... one of my favorite pairs of words! Snacks can range from the super healthy and low calorie to the far end of the spectrum where they are laden with sugar and empty calories (sorry Coke and Snickers). Not only does a snack high in sugar spike your blood sugar, it leaves you with the same hungry feeling about an hour later. Taking great care to limit sweets and empty calories on a daily basis can do you a greater good than the obvious weight loss. Research shows that diets high in sugar can also cause many health problems, diseases, and even some forms of cancer. But what about the "not so bad" effects of a diet high in sugar? Weight gain (and all that it entails), sugar crash, sugar addiction.... According to recent research, sugar is as addictive to the brain as a hard core drug. Don't be enslaved, break the cycle. I am talking directly from experience here! If I have cleared out all the junk food out of my house, I am not able to eat junk food. It is as easy as that. And if I haven't had all the junk and sweets all week, that piece of pie on Saturday is that much sweeter. I have also found that if I don't tell myself that I can never have sweets again that I do much better than if I go cold turkey no sugar. I.CAN. NOT.GO.WITHOUT. SWEETS. But, after saying that, I say this, the less sugary snacks and desserts I eat, the less I crave them! Lately, sugar and high fructose corn syrup can be found in just about any item you pick up on the grocery store shelf. Even the so called healthy snacks contain some sort of sugary sweetener. Take applesauce for instance, unless you buy the natural, unsweetened version, sugar is added! Yogurt, beef jerky, 100 calorie snack packs, peanut butter, and low fat salad dressing are just a few foods that make you think that all their ingredients are nothing short of superior. When you buy something that is low fat or no fat, beware. When fat is removed, sugar is typically inserted. So what do you do? You buy natural peanut butter, full fat Italian dressing, eat nuts instead of the 100 calorie snack packs, and make your own jerky. Cutting sugar all at once can give you some serious withdrawals so do it gradually. You may be the person that can just put the cake down and never return, but then again you may be like me, the person who can eat the entire cake without batting an eye. Don't beat yourself up if you baked a batch of cookies at 10 pm and ate half of them just because you just couldn't take not having sweets any longer. Next time bake 1 cookie instead of 12. It takes time and much resolve to get out of the sugar cycle but don't stop. You may not see the changes at first, but one day you will wake up and realize that you feel better that you have in a very long time! And don't forget to reward yourself for doing good by going to the movies, or to that concert, or whatever you enjoy! And if you just HAVE to have that piece of pie on Saturday, eat it and don't regret it. Just don't eat the entire pie!