Why Cutting Down On Sugar Is So Challenging -- And So Important

We understand that too much sugar in our diets can have significant consequences when it comes to our health. However, that knowledge doesn't make warding off resilient cravings any easier.

In her latest book, Sugar Impact Diet, celebrity nutritionist and fitness expert and HuffPost blogger JJ Virgin explains the proper ways to go about reducing sugar intake and smart strategies for tending to the subsequent cravings. She joined HuffPost Live host Nancy Redd to discuss the best alternatives for milk and sugar in your daily cup of coffee, as well as why we crave the sweet stuff.

"Ideally, they're putting nothing in it, but I don't believe in white-knuckling anything," Virgin said about the best mode of coffee preparation. "I believe in tapering and trading and lowering your sugar impact over time, not overnight, because that'll just get you rushing back for a cookie. What you can use is some coconut milk or some almond milk ... If you need a little sweetener: monk fruit ... cinnamon, vanilla, all great choices."

It's one thing to have healthy sugar alternatives available, but it's another to understand why we even crave it in the first place.

"Part of the challenge is we've so lost our ability to sense natural sweetness because we've so over-sweetened our foods with these fruit juice concentrates and artificial sweeteners that we don't recognize the natural sweetness of vanilla or cinnamon," Virgin said. "That's what we want to get back to -- we want to get back to the point where a blueberry tastes sweet."

To hear more from the conversation on reducing sugar, watch the full HuffPost Live clip in the video above.

Sugary Foods