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The most effective diet change you can make to lose weight in 2020

When it comes to shedding unwanted pounds, it’s not counting calories or shrinking your meal portions that will do the trick. The most efficient way to lose weight without ever feeling hungry? Ditch added sugars.

Yes, just cutting back on sugar (and its sidekicks— refined carbs and artificial sweeteners) causes those excess pounds to melt off effortlessly.

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“For anyone struggling with weight issues, lack of willpower, or even just fatigue and low energy, cutting out sources of added sugar can be a great way of boosting health,” says Max Lugavere, a health researcher I interviewed for my new book Sugar Free 3. Giving up sugar — even just for three weeks — can help you start to ‘reset’ your palette so that you are less likely to even crave sweet foods. You’ll also be consuming fewer empty calories since sugar has no nutritional value. You’ll be making up for the sugar you aren’t eating with real, whole delicious foods.

And you’ll feel more satisfied.

Think about how many calories you can save just by cutting out two sodas a day, that coffee with cream and sugar, and your afternoon chocolate fix. (Let’s be honest, can anyone really stop at just one square?) Plus, when you eat sugar, you tend to crave sugary foods. Assures Lugavere: “Once you eliminate foods with added sugars— including commercial breads, sauces, fruit juices, yogurts, and even salad dressings—your hunger will naturally regulate itself so that you needn’t rely on willpower, which is a finite and fragile resource! You’ll end up eating less, which will lead to” — you guessed it — “weight loss.” Sugar Free 3 reveals the sneaky places sugar hides.

“Giving up sugar helps with weight loss in many ways,” says registered dietician Keri Glassman. “Sugar equals extra calories, and extra calories eventually turn to fat to be stored if they aren’t needed for fuel by the body. Additionally, chemical and emotional responses to sugar consumption can make you overeat and gain weight— unless you regain control.

Here are four easy diet moves you can make today to kick sugar to the curb in 2020:

Swap out soda. Drink seltzer water flavored with fresh-squeezed lemon or lime, herbs such as mint and basil. Plus, staying hydrated quells cravings.

Opt for whole-grain breads. Look for the words “whole wheat” not just “wheat”, for starters.

Eat whole fruit: Berries or sliced apple with cinnamon are naturally sweet and also healthy because they contain vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Use healthy sweeteners: Stevia and monk fruit are plant-derived and don’t impact your blood sugar, so are fine to use in moderation, say, in your morning coffee.