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How To Combat Sugar Cravings

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The Anatomy Of A Sugar Hit

SUGAR CRAVINGS | how to stop them naturally

Why does sugar have such an incredible hold on us? Lets take a high-sugar treat a jelly snake and follow what happens when you pop a handful into your mouth:

  • The mouth has taste receptors for sweetness, so when we chew on jelly snakes, these receptors register pleasure. Once we swallow, sugar from the lollies travels through the stomach into the small intestine, where it is broken down into fructoseand glucose.
  • Glucose and fructose are absorbed into the bloodstream. As a result, the pancreas releases insulin, which locks onto cells and acts as a key, allowing glucose to move from the bloodstream into cells, where it is needed for energy. If the sugar is digested and absorbed into the blood stream too quickly, you may get a surge of energy from the new supply of glucose to cells all around your body. This is the origin of the term sugar hit, which is actually a misnomer because starchy foods can have exactly the same effect.
  • When glucose hits the brain, you also get a little surge in the production of serotonin, a happy hormone. As a result, you may feel more mentally alert and experience a boost in mood. Glucose is the preferred fuel for the brain and nervous system, which needs at least 120g of it a day for optimal functioning.
  • Here Is A List Of Other Sweet Vegetables That Can Help You Combat Sugar Cravings If You Dont Like Sweet Potatoes:

    Sweet Vegetables: Beetroot, Carrot, Winter squash, Yam, Corn, Onion

    Semi-Sweet Vegetables: Parsnip, Turnip

    Other vegetables: Green Cabbage, Daikon, Red radish

    If you experience sugar cravings, please check my video in the Nutrition Library on SHAPES STUDIO: Cravings. There I explain why cravings are important signs we need to listen to. Its free to view as part of a trial membership.

    If you would like to talk more about cravings and have a free health consultation with me, please contact me for booking.

    I hope this helped you and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Interrupt Sugar Craving Cycle With Journaling And A Healthy Snack Before Giving In

    Now that youve identified your triggers, you can interrupt the sugar craving cycle.

    What do I mean by interrupting?

    You do these three things before giving into your craving for sugar:

    • Journal what you are about to eat. This helps bring mindfulness to your eating decisions.
    • Eat a healthy snack like a chocolate protein bar. A chocolate protein bar is a great idea because you get some of the sweet flavor you are craving and lots of protein to quell your hunger.
    • Have a glass of water. Make sure you drink some water because sometimes food cravings happen because you are dehydrated! Coffee dehydrates you!

    Now if you have journaled, drank some water and had a healthy snack, then guess what?

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    How To Kick Sugar Cravings To The Curb

    When you take a drink of your favorite sugary coffee beverage, enjoy a delicious bite of cake, or indulge in your favorite pasta, you trigger a dopamine release in your body thats similar to when youre listening to your favorite music or falling in love. This release creates a positive association with that trigger in your brainor what is commonly known as a “sweet tooth”causing you to crave sugar. Sugar tastes good, it makes you feel good in the moment, so you want more. Yet, sugar doesn’t offer any real benefits to your health.

    You might be looking to reduce your sugar intake to prevent health issues such as obesity and diabetes, or perhaps youre trying to lose weight. Whatever your reason, the following tips can help you kick your sugar cravings to the curb and improve your overall health.

    How To Combat Sugar Cravings During Menopause

    Stop Sugar Cravings

    MenoLabs News | Mon, Jan 13, 2020

    If you have not had menopause sugar cravings yet, brace yourself, because they will be worse than your typical stress-related sugar cravings. The thing is, in menopause hormones fluctuate, your mood changes, you have more emotional stress because of the symptoms of menopause, and you are not motivated to move or exercise. All of these can cause real serious sugar cravings like never before. And it will not be just sugar, but the unhealthiest kind cakes, cookies, pastries, and anything else thats very sweet and rich.

    You know these foods are unhealthy, but you feel like you have no willpower to stop yourself from eating them. We understand what you are going through, so we are here to give you some tips on how to combat sugar cravings during menopause.

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    When To See A Doctor

    Maskot / Getty Images

    If you find yourself feeling dizzy without sugar, or having regular cravings, its time to call a professional, as it could indicate a deeper problem. If you are craving sweets chronically, Goodman says this may indicate that you have hypoglycemia, for instance.

    Even if its a sign of a nutritional deficiency, a professional can help determine what youre lacking, how much you need, and ensure the lack of the vitamin or nutrient doesnt lead to further problems. Magnesium deficiency, for example, has been linked to everything from osteoporosis to type 2 diabetes to heart disease. . When our body doesnt have enough magnesium, it will have trouble bringing energy into the cells and thus, feel deprived and crave sugar, Fahad explains.

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    Think About Food Order

    The order you eat your food matters. The best way to eat any meal is by eating the highest fiber foods first, then protein, fat, and starches last. But please dont rip apart your sandwich and eat it piece by piece. These rules are supposed to enhance your life, not make it more complicated. Prioritizing a plate of high-fiber vegetables, like a salad, before every meal is a simple way to implement this healthy hack.

    If you eat the items of a meal containing starch, fiber, sugar, protein, and fat in specific order, you reduce your overall glucose spike by 73 percent, as well as your insulin spike by 48 percent.

    Jessie Inchauspé, Glucose Revolution

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    Dr John Day Cardiologist

    Dr. John DayDr. Day is a cardiologist specializing in heart rhythm abnormalities at St. Mark Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School and completed his residency and fellowships in cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology at Stanford University. He is the former president of the Heart Rhythm Society and the Utah chapter of the American College of Cardiology.

    Have A Piece Of Fruit

    The Best Way to Get Off Sugar

    My personal strategy to fight sugar cravings on the spot is usually to eat something sweet. I find that giving my body what it needs is a gentle and intuitive approach to healthy living.

    Whenever Im having sugar cravings, I look to fruit first. Usually, mango, watermelon, or nectarines do the trick for me. Not only are you getting the boost of sugar your body needs, but fruit is full of fiber and will balance your blood sugar better than a piece of candy or cake. Not to mention the many vitamins and minerals in fresh fruit that are so important for long-term health and wellness.

    Image by Michelle Nash

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    You Can Use Added Sugar As A Bridge Between Binges And No Sugar

    For example, instead of entirely avoiding sweet foods, try some added sugar to your baked potato or fruit.

    I know youre still having sugar but its ok. Added sugar to a fruit is still better than a full-on binge!

    If added sugar helps you buy time to think rationally, then by all means use all the added sugar ingredients you want.

    This will help you to avoid the big binges where you really feel guilty afterwards.

    Just make sure you buy time so you are in a positive, grounded mindset. See if you can let yourself have a normal amount of sugar like:

    • A small bowl of ice cream
    • One normally sliced piece of cake

    Socan Protein Curb Sugar Cravings

    D. Sharon Pruitt Pink Sherbet Photography/Getty Images

    As registered dietitian and nutrition writer Brittany Lubeck, MS, RD, tells The Healthy, consuming protein causes the blood sugar from the food you eat to be released into the bloodstream slower than when carbohydrates are eaten alone, or in an extra-large serving. Eating protein will help stabilize your blood sugar and prevent those dreaded spikes and dips that can cause issues, including sugar cravings, Lubeck explains.

    According to Dr. Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, dietitian and assistant professor with the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA and Senior Dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, adding more healthy sources of protein to your diet helps to maintain blood sugar stability while slowing down the rate of absorption of starches and carbohydrates in food. These two mechanisms, blood sugar stability and slowing down the rate of blood sugar absorption, help reduce sugar cravings, Dr. Ellis Hunnes says.

    If you eat protein-rich foods but still find yourself craving the sweet stuff, well, heres another insight that might make you think differently: as dietitian Lubeck says, Another common cause of sugar cravings is not eating enough calories, or not eating the right types of foods at meals and snacks. If you eat only simple, refined carbohydrates, your bodys insulin response will be a bit drastic, causing lots of insulin to be secreted from your pancreas.

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    Tip #: Go For Complex Carbs

    You must have heard before to avoid carbs for health and weight loss. But not all carbs are the same. Refined carbs found in white bread, white pasta, ice creams, sodas, chips, and baked goods are the ones you should avoid in your diet . They quickly get absorbed into your blood thus creating those spikes of blood sugar mentioned earlier. On the other hand, complex carbs are actually good for you. Foods like whole grains, sweet potatoes, and wholemeal bread get absorbed slower and keep you full for longer as well. You should not avoid carbs completely, but it is important to choose the right kind to include in your diet.

    Other Things That May Work

    Food that fight sugar craving

    I am pretty sure the three steps above would work for most people to shut down a sugar craving.

    But of course, the best option by far is to prevent these cravings in the first place.

    To do that, toss all out of your house. If you keep them within close reach, youre asking for trouble. Instead, keep healthy foods within easy reach.

    Also, if you eat healthy and exercise several times per week, chances are you wont get cravings nearly as often.

    Here are 11 more useful tips to stop sugar cravings:

  • Drink a glass of water. Some people say that dehydration can cause cravings.
  • Eat a fruit. Having a piece of fruit may help satisfy sugar cravings for some people. Bananas, apples, oranges work great.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners. If you feel that artificial sweeteners trigger cravings for you, you might want to avoid them (
  • Recommended Reading: Should I Cut Out Sugar To Lose Weight

    Keep Your Meals Diverse

    Make sure you incorporate all food groups when you prepare a meal. According to Nutrition Stripped founder, McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN, people don’t realize they’re what they’re missing in their meals and it could be detrimental. “I’ve found in my practice that often people crave sugar because of generally imbalanced diet as a whole,” she says. “At mealtimes, they might be missing out on enough fiber to keep them physically full or can be lacking enough protein to keep them satiated, or enough healthy fats. All the macronutrients work together to keep our blood sugars stabilized and keep us satiated so we need them all.”

    How To Stop The Craving

    One way to get around this little conundrum is to just choose something sweet with artificial sweetener in it, right? Wrong! So, so wrong. Artificial sweeteners might momentarily satisfy that sweet craving, but they trick your body into thinking its getting fuel when its not. Your body soon goes looking for more calories in the form of you guessed it sugar, and youre right back where you started.

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    Ways To Stop Sugar Cravings Before They Start Says Dietitian

    No, there is no magic pill to take to stop your sugar cravings. However, sugar cravings are easier to handle when you know what’s causing them in the first place, according to Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CEO and author of The Core 3 Healthy Eating Plan and a member of our medical expert board.

    “While sometimes a craving for sugar is a sign that your body needs more energy and carbs, it can also be prompted by stress and strong emotions,” says Moskovitz. “That said, the first step to managing sugar cravings is to learn more about the why behind them.”

    Here are the methods Moskovitz recommends for eliminating a sugar craving before it takes over. After, for even more healthy tips, check out our list of 9 Healthy Eating Habits to Live Over A Century.

    Sugar Craving Tips From The Experts

    Here’s How to Break Your Sugar Addiction in 10 Days

    Here are some additional tips for lessening sugar cravings from some renowned health authorities:

    Andrew Weil, MD

    Dr. Andrew Weil is a Harvard graduate, pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, and founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.

    He recommends eating more bitter foods like olives, endive, radicchio, and cooked greens which can balance your desire for sweets.

    He advocates mind-body techniques like hypnosis and breathing exercises to reduce the stress that leads to emotional eating.

    Dr. Mark Hyman is the Head of Strategy and Innovation at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine and author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet.

    He believes that sugar is a true addiction and that its best to quit cold turkey just as a substance abuser would.

    Carolyn C. Ross MD, MPH

    Eating disorder expert Dr. Carolyn C. Ross suggests getting more sleep, managing stress, and listening to what your cravings are trying to tell you about your life.

    Other tips include hanging out with others who eat healthily, avoiding emotional triggers, and liberally using spices like cinnamon to liven up foods and control blood sugar levels.

    Avoid artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame which confuse the brain and actually increase appetite and hunger.

    If you must sweeten your foods, switch to natural non-caloric sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit instead.

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    Manage Your Blood Sugar

    Yesyour blood sugar and your food cravings are certainly linked. Data published in Nutrients in 2020 concluded that those who followed a lower-carbohydrate diet had a greater reduction in sugar cravings. A healthier diet high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats will help with controlling blood sugar spikes, which in turn helps with sugar cravings during blood sugar dips.

    Cutting Out Sugar Can Make Us Feel Like Addicts Because We Absolutely Are Experiencing Some Of The Same Symptoms

    We feel the effects of sugar in all its forms. However, the biggest culprit is added refined sugar. Instead of nourishing the body, added refined sugars encourage our taste for even more sugary foods and start a vicious cycle. At the crux of the issue is this: added sugar is pervasive in so many foods, and the majority of people over consume it on a daily basis without even realizing it.

    Also Check: How To Not Eat Sugar Anymore

    Dont Mistake Tiredness Boredom Or Anxiety For Hunger

    People eat for a variety of reasons, but its not always hunger that drives their decisions.

    If youre tired, you should rest. If youre bored, you should find something to do with your hands other than snack on sugar, like knit, read a book, or go on a bike ride.

    If youre struggling with anxiety, try some deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to calm your nerves instead of a candy bar laden with sugar.

    Why Do We Crave Sugar So Much And What Can We Do To Stop Those Cravings In Their Tracks


    We all know that sugar is unhealthy, and diets high in simple sugars are associated with an increased risk of certain lifestyle diseases such as obesity, insulin resistance, and type two diabetes. Sugar is pervasive in most processed foods, so unless youre only eating natural foods, youre probably consuming quite a bit of sugar in all of its various forms.

    According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention , the average person in the United States consumes 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day, yet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 20202025recommends limiting the intake of added sugars to less than 10% of your total daily calories. For a 2,000-calorie diet, this would entail eating no more than 200 calories from added sugars, which is equal to about 12 teaspoons.

    Many people struggle to reduce their sugar intake because they experience intense sugar cravings and turn to sweet foods to give them an energy boost or emotional pick-me-up. Fighting your sugar cravings can be difficult, particularly when youre stressed, tired, overworked, or feeling down. To learn more about how sugar cravings work and to get tips on how to reduce sugar cravings, we spoke with Brenda Peralta, RD, a registered dietitian, health coach, and sports nutritionist.

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