Cutting Back on Sugar Can Reset Your Taste Buds

A new study shows that sticking to a low-sugar diet makes food taste sweeter

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Cutting out sugar doesn't just mean avoiding sweets. Added sugars are lurking in all kinds of foods, from cereal to salad dressing.

In the United States, the average person consumes more than 126 grams of sugar per day. That’s more than twice the daily-recommended amount set forth by the World Health Organization. Although consuming sugary drinks and sweets contributes to this statistic, much of our sugar intake actually comes from eating so-called healthy products. Foods you might not suspect, such as bread and peanut butter, contain large amounts of added sugars. It’s often difficult to identify sugar in food, as it can be listed under more than 50 different names, including sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.

Click here for the Everyday Foods that Contain Way More Sugar than You Thought slideshow.

According to a study conducted by the Credit Suisse Research Institute in 2013, up to 40 percent of United States’ healthcare expenditures are for diseases directly related to the overconsumption of sugar. Sugar is also known to be highly addictive, leading you to crave and consume sugary products more and more. Clearly sugar poses a huge challenge to public health. Fortunately, a new study offers hope for those trying to take control of their sugar habit. According to researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, steering clear of sugar for a while can help reset your taste buds.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examined healthy adults who consumed two or more sugary beverages every day. Participants were divided into two groups: One maintained their regular sugar consumption and the other adhered to a low-sugar diet for three months. After each month, all participants consumed vanilla pudding and a raspberry beverage. The low-sugar group rated the foods as much sweeter in intensity than those who had continued consuming large amounts of sugar. The researchers observed that those in the low-sugar group were able to enjoy the sweetness more than those in the other group.

“If people could adjust to a lower-sugar diet over time without affecting food acceptance, it might be possible to gradually reduce added sugars in food and beverages without causing rejection,” said Paul Wise, a sensory psychologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center and an author of the study. These results offer hope for people looking to reduce their sugar intake. By decreasing your consumption for a few months, you’ll enjoy sugary treats more when you do choose to satisfy your sweet tooth. This means you’ll feel satisfied with a smaller amount and will be less likely to overindulge.

The accompanying slideshow is provided by fellow Daily Meal editorial staff member Dan Myers.

Click here for everyday foods high in sugar.

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