Want Sweet? Grab Sour

Craving something sweet? Eat something bitter.

craving something sweet

Although it’s been common wisdom for decades that you can lessen your interest in sweets by eating something bitter, now there’s scientific evidence that this folk remedy really works.

Enter such wonderful foods as arugula, chicory, broccoli rabe, grapefruit, sauerkraut or kimchee.

The Scientific Research: Neuroscientists at Ohio State University conducted studies to isolate the taste-bud cells responsible for sweet and bitter tastes.

They discovered that the cells for these polar-opposite tastes physically overlap. So when taste-bud cells release peptides in response to a bitter food, these signals can override signals stimulated by sugary foods and the cravings associated with sweets.

Your Simple Steps:

1) Buy your favorite bitter foods. You can choose bitter leafy greens, radishes, grapefruit, and sauerkraut. Sauerkraut, as you may know, is finely cut cabbage fermented with lactic acid bacteria. Or choose kimchee, a Korean condiment made with fermented cabbage, onions and radish. (Make sure to choose a brand that contains NO added sweeteners.)

2) Eat one to three bites of the bitter food when a Crazy Craving hits. (You may want to bring a small container of your favorite bitter food with you so it’s handy when a Crazy Craving hits.)

3) If your cravings feel especially strong, take one or two bites of one or more bitter foods before each meal. You also can nibble on them to head off future cravings.

4) To fully activate your taste buds with the bitter sensation, make sure to chew the bitter food slowly.

5) Then let the bitter food stay in your mouth for up to a minute before swallowing.

How It Works: Taste receptor cells on your tongue signal the release of neuropeptides and neurotransmitters in your brain.

When you taste something bitter, the neuropeptides triggered by the taste receptor cells inhibit your desire for sweet tastes. Thus, eating bitter foods on a regular basis can be an easy way to calm down your cravings for sweets.   

Time Needed: One to two minutes. Take as long as you need to chew one or two bites of the bitter food.

Your Cravings-Crushing Adventurcise (Adventurous Exercise): Try this Taste Something Bitter technique the next time a Crazy Craving for something sweet, salty or fatty strikes. Next, come back here to rate its effectiveness for you. Then, decide if you’ll add this simple tactic to your arsenal of Cravings-Crushing tools.

Now check the appropriate box:

_____ It worked well! This is now one of my top Cravings-Crushing Tools.
_____ It worked, but I’d rather try other techniques.

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5 thoughts on “Want Sweet? Grab Sour

  1. I’m slightly confused by this article. The title says to grab something sour and sauerkraut, kimchee and grapefruit are definitely sour, however, the rest of the article states to eat something bitter (arugula, chicory and broccoli rabe).

    Which is it? Sour or bitter? Both? If cutting my sweet cravings (the bane of my existence) will work by eating either or both, I’m all in. Thank you for all of your research!

  2. I seem to have terrible chocolate cravings and at this time in my life I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse I get diarrhea from too much chocolate.