The Best Protein Sources To Fight Sugar Cravings
Consider adding more healthy proteinsincluding plant-based proteinto your diet, and keep your kitchen stocked. The best protein source to fight sugar cravings might be legumes . These are particularly effective at fighting sugar cravings because, unlike meat and dairy, these protein sources deliver the double benefit of protein plus fiber, which also reduces sudden jolts in your blood sugar.
A list of healthy proteins includes:
- Legumes: Lentils, beans, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, peanuts, green peas.
- Whole grains: Oatmeal, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, seitan.
- Nuts and seeds: Quinoa, chia seeds, hemp seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds.
- Lean grass-fed meat, fish, and dairy: Skinless chicken or turkey, extra-lean ground beef, fish, eggs.
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Give Yourself A Break
We recognize sweet meals as a reward for good behavior or a job well done. This makes it difficult to resist sugar cravings after a long day at work, a night of intense study, or a 2-hour gym session. Sadly, these rewards often become everyday habits, increasing our sugar intake.
When you deserve a reward, try something other than food. The ultimate treat is one that makes you happy now and afterward. Take a long bath, watch a TV show, or contact your best buddy to celebrate. When it comes to food, choose something you wont regret. Adding a little sweetness to a healthy diet is a guilt-free reward. I like to sprinkle flaked almonds and crushed amaretto biscuits over a small bowl of berry-flavored yogurt. Yum! Or raisin toast with ricotta and honey.
Sugar Hormones And Weight
When you eat your regular 3 oclock cookie, the sugar rush activates feel-good chemicals and reward centers in your brain, like serotonin, dopamine, and beta endorphins. It spikes your blood sugar and eventually leads to insulin surges that drive insulin resistance.
The sugar roller coaster causes physiologic changes in your body:
- weight gain, especially around the belly
- more cravings
- depression and anxiety
Sugars effects can seep into your whole system. Sugar and carbohydrates are mostly stored in the liver as glycogen until it gets full. Then your body has to make fat from the excess sugar and carbohydrates. That fat gets added to existing fat deposits around your body and you gain weight.
Sugar can also fuel hormonal imbalance by turning off a key gene that controls your sex hormones. Without this gene , both testosterone and estrogen can become unregulated. This imbalance causes fatigue, anxiety, irritability and other symptoms.
Sugar causes a world of trouble in your body but you can free yourself from your sugar habit. Try any one of the following to get started.
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How To Beat Carb Cravings
Keep your brain busy. Itâs hard to think about cravings when your mind is occupied with fun. In one experiment, volunteers who played the video game Tetris for a few minutes found that it curbed their craving for food, drugs, and other pleasures. The researchers think thatâs because your brain has limited capacity to juggle competing images.
Eat mindfully. Sometimes you reach for carbs not out of hunger but boredom. Or itâs your habit to indulge in a bowl of ice cream after dinner. Mindful eating may help. Practice paying attention to why youâre eating, slow down to savor the taste of your food, and focus on the moment. This helps your brain get in sync with your stomach and get the signal that you’re full. Studies show a strong link between mindful eating and lower body weight.
Go for the right kind of carbs. Not all carbs are created equal. Complex carbs, the ones you find in whole grains and veggies, are your body’s main source of energy. They take a while to digest, so your blood sugar levels rise slowly and you feel satisfied longer. Non-starchy veggies, such as carrots, have fewer carbs than starchy ones like potatoes. Check the labels on the foods you buy for both carbohydrate content and for sugar in the ingredient list. Even foods that aren’t “sweet” can have more added sugar than you’d expect.
Causes Of Sugar Cravings
Aside from the natural high feeling that sugar brings to our system, there are other reasons why people crave sugar. Here are some of it:
Blood Sugar Imbalance
Eating sweet foods increases our blood sugar levels, which makes our body release insulin in order to lower it to a safe level. However, once the body thinks that the blood sugar level becomes too low, it starts to crave sugary food again. To help address this issue, you need to eat foods that prevent the body to release insulin such as protein. It also helps to eat meals and snacks at a regular interval to keep blood sugar levels from dropping.
Some people mistook thirst for cravings. When the body is dehydrated, it becomes weak since it couldnt metabolize the stored glucose in the body to convert it to energy. Hence, the body starts to crave sweets to pump up the energy level again. So the next time you have that urge to pick a piece of chocolate for some energy boost, ask yourself: Have you had any water for the past hours?
Bad Sleeping Habits
Poor sleeping habits can affect how your brain and body function. The body clock has a significant role in the regulation of ghrelin and leptin hormones. These hormones work to either promote or suppress food intake. Make sure that you get a good nights sleep all the time. If you are suffering from insomnia, you can try some natural remedies such as bedtime teas to help you sleep.
Underlying Medical Conditions
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Eat When Youre Hungry
Times of intense hunger are not times to make level-headed decisions about the best foods to eat. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. In this case, that means planning or prepping healthy meals ahead of time so youll have them on hand when you get hungry. A solid meal plan for the week will make it that much easier for you to stay on track.
Like I mentioned above, eating enough nutrient-rich foods like proteins, healthy fats, and vegetables will help stop extreme hunger and blood sugar swings. This makes it easier to choose healthy options as sugar cravings hit stronger when you allow yourself to get extremely hungry. Especially when this hunger is combined with stress or lack of sleep!
Sugar By Another Name Is Still Sugar
The food industry has gotten smarter! With all the backlash against sugar and all the hype surrounding healthy foods, some companies are attempting to mask unhealthy ingredients. Sadly, this is not illegal, but you can take a stand by becoming more knowledgeable about the food youre eating, reading the label carefully, and educating yourself on what youre not looking for. The following list contains 60 of the most common tricks food manufacturers are using to mask added sugar in their products. If you see any of these in the first few items on the ingredients list, the product probably has too much sugar:
Agave, Barbados sugar, barley malt, beet sugar, blackstrap molasse, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, buttered sugar, buttered syrup, cane juice, cane juice crystals, cane sugar, caramel, carob syrup, castor sugar, coconut sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystalline fructose, date sugar, demerara sugar, dextran, diastase, ethyl maltol, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, galactose, golden sugar, golden syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, icing sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, maple syrup, molasses syrup, muscovado sugar, organic raw sugar, oat syrup, panela, Panocha, confectioners sugar, rice bran syrup, rice syrup, sorghum, sorghum syrup, sucrose, sugar, syrup, treacle, tapioca syrup, turbinado sugar, and yellow sugar.
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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 Get Rid Of Sugar Cravings
To address this problem, you first have to understand how you came to become addicted to sugar. Educating yourself about what foods or life choices contribute to this addiction will help you work out how to deal with it.
If you struggle with giving up or reducing sugar intake, you can try and motivate yourself by learning why sugar is so bad for your health. Alternatively, find out how you can satisfy your sugar cravings with healthier foods.
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Why You’re Craving Sweets At Night
Blame it on biology. The body’s internal clock hypes up hunger and cravings for sweet foods in the evenings, according to a small March 2013 study published in ââObesity.â
Sugar cravings at night can also come from learned behaviors, such as always eating a bowl of ice cream after dinner as a child, or sensory stimulation â like when you see a commercial for a candy bar while watching television before bed.
While you can’t change your circadian system, you don’t need to be tied to your sugar cravings at night. Indeed, what you do at dinner can help lower the desire for dessert and other sweets. Here, dietitians dish up a few simple hacks for how to stop sugar cravings at night.
Give Into Your Craving Then Move On
“If a craving for something sweet like a piece of chocolate or a scoop of ice cream persists, just have it,” says Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, and author of 52-Week Meal Planner. “Trying to satisfy cravings with other ‘healthier’ foods or restricting yourself from having a food you’re craving often leads to overeating. As is often said, the forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest.” So, eat your piece of cake, don’t feel bad, and then move on.
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Make Sleep A Priority
Getting enough sleep is a vital key to success for good health. Not only will it help you stop your sugar cravings, but it will also keep you energized throughout the day.
Set a regular bedtime and decrease the number of distractions in your bedroom. Try moving your TV out of the bedroom and charging your phone in another room.
Ways To Help Ease Sugar Cravings:
1. Drink ginger tea
Ginger naturally suppresses sugar cravings. Drink a ginger tea before giving into the sugar craving and see if you still want that sweet. Ginger is considered a palate cleanser that helps fight the urge for something sweet and can make you feel strong, powerful and in control.Ginger is also a natural anti-inflammatory that enhances insulin sensitivity, which protects againstdiabetes.
2. Do a candida gut cleanse
Everyone has a healthy amount of candida in the digestive system, but those who eat sugar in excess can experience a candida overgrowth. Candida grows off sugar and will send cravings to your brain to feed it more. Cleanse candida by drinking 1 ounce of aloe Vera and 1 ounce of colloidal silver 3 times a day for 3 weeks. Once candida is normalized you will notice you dont crave as much sugar!
3. Eat Tigernuts
Tigernuts are a vegetable root and naturally very sweet, like a sweet potato. They also take a while to chew and can help break cravings for candy and sugary things.
5. Have more fun
Make sure you have a balance of work, rest and play. Overworked people tend to crave quick sweets, fats and oils to keep up with a demanding lifestyle.Often cravings are just compensating for an area of our life where we dont have balance.
6. Eat enough protein
When your body is satiated on protein you are less likely to crave sugar or need to give your brain some fuel.
7. Drink a green juice
8. Stabilize your nervous system with healthy fats
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Eat Protein And Fiber At Each Meal
We all know how important protein is to our diet, but making sure we have enough at each meal is also helpful for staving off sugar cravings. “Eat protein and fiber at every meal! This is the most important tool you could have on your plate,” says Brooke Alpert, RD, and author of The Diet Detox. “Both protein and fiber help to slow down the absorption of sugar to prevent any blood sugar spikes which would make you crave more sugar. Plus, they help keep you fuller longer, leaving you more in control over your food choices and less likely to dive into that cupcake!”
When You Suddenly Need A Sugar Fix That Urge Might Feel Like It Has A Hold On You To Help Manage Sugar Cravings A Registered Dietitian Suggests You May Simply Need More Of This Healthy Basic In Your Diet
Concerned that you eat too much sugar? Your worry may be warranted. Some clinical professionals, like dietitians and physicians, understand that when your blood sugar suddenly rises, your blood actually gets thicker. Over time, this can lead to serious health issues and increase your risk of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and obesity.
And, many nutrition professionals teach that sugar from processed foods is a drug. This means that by definition, regularly consuming refined sugar typically only leads to more cravings. So to hear the suggestion you should just totally cut out sugar can feel the way someone with clinical depression hears advice to just be happy.
If youve tried every method you can think of to beat your sugar cravings but still find yourself struggling, one dietitian may have just come to the rescue. Her suggestion? What you actually might need is to add more of something into your diet, rather than totally turning toward cutting the sweet stuff out. Weve got the scoop. Ohand if youve ever asked why you crave sugary, fatty foods before your period, you may have just found the answer.
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What Can Your Sugar Cravings Say About Your Health
As discussed above, a sugar craving could mean that your body is lacking a vitamin or nutrient, or that your blood sugar levels are off.
Registered dietitian Farah Fahad recommends adding more protein to your meals, so your blood sugar levels dont drop. The body is a well-built machine, and if you are not giving it the right foods, it will say, Give me sugar! she explains. It wants energy for all the thousands of biological processes that are happening.
How Much Protein Can Help Manage Sugar Cravings
Wondering how much protein do you need to keep your sugar cravings at bay? As Lubeck explains, the daily requirement varies based on age, gender, weight, and activity level, but a general formula Harvard Medical School offers is to eat 0.36 to 0.45 grams of protein per pound of your body weight.
Another important takeaway, Lubeck says, is to space out your protein intake evenly throughout the day. For example, if your daily requirement is 75 grams of protein, you might consider eating 15 grams over five snacks or meals spaced throughout the day.
Another good way to prevent sugar cravings is to pay close attention to hunger cues, and dont allow yourself to grow overly hungry. Allowing yourself to reach the point of starving will cause your body to crave simple carbs, as theyre the quickest form of energy. Youre then more likely to give in to temptation and eat processed junk food to satisfy your sugar cravings. Stay one step ahead of cravings by having healthy snacks regularly throughout the day and not allowing huge gaps between mealtimes.
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Limit Your Sugar Intake
Out of sight, out of mind when it comes to sugar cravings. We eat sweets out of habit or convenience. We buy those foods and keep them in our desk drawer or cupboard. Making sweet meals difficult while making healthier ones accessible is one of the best methods to change these habits.
Identify your sugar cravings and attempt to remove them. For an iced coffee in the morning, avoid routes that pass a shop or vending machine. If you find yourself reaching for sugary snacks while watching TV, keep pre-cut carrot sticks and dip them in the fridge as a healthier alternative. Or busy your hands with something else like crocheting or folding laundry. Getting your friends and family onboard can help you battle your sugar cravings. Consider substituting an afternoon stroll for your afternoon coffee and cake, and urge your loved ones to refrain from bringing sweets as gifts.
Sugar Craving Cause: You Chowed Down On Salty Foods
When you dine out or eat highly processed, packaged foods, your food has more sodium in it than you probably even realize. This usually remains true even when youre eating something healthy, such as grilled salmon and sautéed or steamed spinach, from your fave healthy restaurant. Heres the kicker: Oftentimes, the saltier your food, the bigger your sweet craving.
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Maintain Consistent Meal Times
One of the biggest reasons we crave something sweet is that we miss a meal. This could be due to being busy with work, family obligation, or intentionally skipping it. Whatever the reason, the result is the same — you become ravenous , which invariably leads you to seek out sugar to boost energy levels and restore blood sugar to a healthy level.
The solution to this is to maintain regular meal times each day. Ideally, youd want to space your meals out every 3-5 hours . This not only helps maintain stable blood sugar levels and keeps sugar cravings at bay, it also keeps a steady supply of essential amino acids and BCAAs in the bloodstream to support muscle recovery and growth!