Women sharing a cake slice

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Planning Your Treat Time in Advance

You know the phrase "everything in moderation"? That applies to sugar as well. Completely kicking it out of your life frequently leads to failure; however, the context in which you're eating it matters, says Ashley Gearhardt, PhD, associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, who also helped develop the Yale Food Addiction Scale, a test that pinpoints whether you exhibit addictive eating behavior. People frequently want high-sugar foods (like cookies or ice cream) when they're lonely or sad, at night and alone. However, take a step back: "Those are not the times to have a moderate scoop of ice cream," she says, as it can spiral into a binge. Instead, introduce treat foods during positive times when it's easier to moderate your intake, like after you've had a full meal in the company of loved ones.