There’s a revelation in the book “Why Diets Fail” by Neuroscientist Nicole Avena and writer John Talbott. Its authors—the former a researcher at Columbia University and the latter a professional author who recently lost a significant amount of weight by cutting sugar from his diet—say about 11 percent of people is addicted to sugar.

That’s right: addicted.
Until recently, most nutrition experts have eschewed the idea that sugar could be addictive. But thanks to recent research by people like Avena, addiction to sugar (as well as other foods) is becoming a more-recognized condition in the health care world. And when something starts getting the attention of the big brains who try to make life better for everyone, everyone benefits from an increase in information about how to deal with the problem.

In this case, the problem is a sweet tooth–those undeniable cravings for something sweet that just might be an actual addiction. So how do you ease your sugary cravings? According to Avena and Talbott, you should:

Sugar Cravings | BeLiteWeightFind a substitute
What if instead of eating that powdered donut you ate an apple instead? It might sound ridiculous right now, but if you consistently substitute something healthy for your sugary siren for an extended period of time, you’ll eventually have a good shot of changing your behavior for good. That’s right: Eventually, you’re sweet tooth could go away entirely.

Distract yourself
Some people call this method “white knuckling it.” That’s because you are using will power and brain power to keep yourself from downing a half-dozen chocolate chip cookies (or whatever it is you’re craving). Instead of sitting down with your sugary snack, you get up and get out of the house, go for a walk or do some push-ups–you do whatever it takes to take your mind off the sugar. It’s hard and it’s no fun, but it works.

Set goals–and then reward yourself
Deprivation rarely works, which is why you might want to consider allowing yourself to enjoy something sweet every now and then–just as long as you reach your goals and don’t do it all the time.