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This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Gary Taubes

There’s no one answer for everyone. I tend to eat butter (Kerrygold) but I’m one of those people who think that butter is good for me. (I hope I’m right.) I’ll also eat 100 percent chocolate, but that’s an acquired taste. Both are high in fat, and research from as far back as the 1930s suggests that animals or humans that eat high fat diets lose their cravings for carbs, which is one of the reasons why I do this.

The fact, though, is that for me, out-of-sight-out-of-mind tends to work for me with sugar, so I don’t get sugar cravings typically as this question is implying. So all I can say is try high fat foods — nuts, would be an obvious choice — and see if it helps. I do think that if you can fight off the cravings long enough without giving in, a few weeks, they’ll fade just like the craving for cigarettes fades with time.

This leads to the obvious question of what about artificial sweeteners. I think they’re safer than sugar, if for no other reason than they’re typically a few hundred times as sweet and so we consume them at much much lower doses, but they’ll also keep that sweet tooth alive and craving sugar.

So best is to treat the cravings like you would if you were a smoker trying to quit and craving a cigarette or an alcoholic trying to stay away from alcohol and craving a drink. I realize this is easy to say and hard to do — I spent 20 years trying to quit smoking until I eventually succeeded — but I do think it’s worth it, that eventually we get to the point that we don’t miss the source of the cravings and find life sufficiently full of joy without it. (Although it sure helps if you can make up with butter and maybe even bacon what you lose in sugar.)

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