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Train Your Brain to Say 'No' to Sugar

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us learn to say "no" to too many demands from our world, but sometimes we forget to say no to our own harmful habits, such as eating too much sugar.

Discover the Orbitofrontal Cortex

Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD, pointed this out in, explaining, "The brain has a special area, the orbitofrontal cortex, that restrains harmful behavior, based on past experience, such as harmful eating behaviors."

Blaylock says we need to exercise the orbitofrontal cortex to keep it working well. That means we must learn to say "no" more often to sugary donuts, sodas and desserts, and when we do, they will loosen their grip on us.

If you have been down this path already, you know sugary pastries taste way too sweet when you cut back on them. As this part of your brain grows stronger, it is a lot easier to say no way, and have a fresh peach or apple instead of peach or apple pie.

On the other hand, if you are a regular morning pastry eater, you may find you have to eat more and more to get the same sweetness because the brain is flattening the reactivity of the sweetness receptors.

How to Say No and Mean It

Here are some tips to help you get the upper hands on bad eating habits.

  • Start shopping a farmers market and bring home a bag of fresh fruit
  • Look for ways to serve fresh fruit with new fruit recipes
  • Put out trays of fruit instead of chips or cookies
  • Carry bananas, mandarin oranges, apples and packs of raisins with you for snacking
  • Check sites like for fresh fruit recipes to bake banana, zucchini or pumpkin loaves and strawberry or raspberry tarts
  • Give yourself permission to indulge occasionally in your favorite pastry or donut, and then get back to your whole fruit routine
  • Add fruit to every meal with berries on your cereal, mandarin oranges in your lunch salad, and strawberries for dessert at dinner
  • Keep adding new fruits to your menu and keep frozen versions and canned versions on hand as backup
  • Learn how to sidestep boxes of donuts at work, and rich desserts at friends' houses
  • Create trays of cheese, lean meats and fresh fruit in place of tacos, burgers or hot dogs on the weekend

Avoid excess sugar and enjoy the results.

  • Lose weight and stay trim
  • Lose those sugar cravings
  • Get better health numbers at the doctor's office
  • Enjoy more energy
  • Skip that up and down sugar boost and crash routine

All you have to do is say "no."

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Seal Beach, Calif.

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