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.”
Incorporate Sweet Spices As Sugar Alternatives
Going for an alternative will help trick your mind into thinking that youre having actual sugar.
Instead of the usual warm drinks with sugar and syrup, go for sweet spices such as cardamom, coriander, pumpkin pie spice , and Ceylon cinnamon.
If youre a fan of hot chocolate, you can use a small amount of cocoa powder or unsweetened cocoa mix in place of sugar . When baking, try adding one teaspoon of ground cinnamon or 12 teaspoon ground ginger per cup of flour called for in your recipe.
These spices generally have a sweeter taste but do not contain sugar. When you add them to foods, you will get that sweet taste, and your mind will think you are having something sugary when you are not.
What Other Foods Satisfy Sugar Cravings
If youre wondering what to eat when craving sugar, there are a few swaps you can make when a craving hits. One alternative is fruit. Not only is fruit naturally sweet, but its a healthier alternative than a chocolate bar. You might want to go for fruits that have a slightly higher sugar content like grapes or mangoes to make sure you dont end up reaching for junk food to get your sugar fix. Dates are also a good choice, and theyre as nutritious as they are sweet. Theyre a good source of fiber, iron and potassium too.
You could also switch out milk chocolate for dark chocolate. Although it has more of a bitter taste since it has less sugar, dark chocolate contains polyphenols, which are plant compounds that have antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects. Like milk chocolate, however, be sure to eat it in moderation.
Eating more protein can also help curb sugar cravings. Depending on how protein-rich your choice is, the protein can slow down sugar absorption and prevent your glucose levels from spiking, which can help reduce sugar cravings. Avocados can be a good choice in this case since theyre not only high in protein but also in fat.
You dont have to cut sugar out of your diet entirely. You can still consume it in moderation, but be aware that there may be hidden sugar in the foods you might least suspect, so its important to read labels before you buy anything. Making a few healthy swaps can make a big difference in the amount of sugar you consume.
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Go For A Brisk Walk Outside
Another thing that can work is to go outside for a brisk walk.
If you are a runner, running will be even better.
This serves a two-fold purpose. First, you are distancing yourself from the food that you are craving.
Second, the exercise will release endorphins, or feel good chemicals in your brain, which can help turn the craving off.
If you cant go outside, do a few exhausting sets of burpees, push-ups, body weight squats or any other body-weight exercise.
Going for a brisk walk or running may help reduce cravings.
Tips To Naturally Reduce Sugar Cravings
The average American eats three times the recommendation of added sugar each day. That added sugar is about 350 extra calories each day. Sugar cravings are very common and can have many different causes. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce your sugar cravings.
Added sugar is any sugar or syrup that is added to food during processing or preparation. There are many names for added sugar such as corn syrup, molasses, malt sugar, honey, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar and sucrose, to name a few. Added sugar is found in most processed foods such as sodas, cookies, yogurt, and even ketchup. Sugar adds flavor to food but lacks important micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Naturally sweet foods like fruit and milk also contain sugar but, unlike foods with added sugar, they contain important nutrients. These nutrients, such as fiber and protein, help slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream. Too much added sugar is associated with serious health problems such as excess weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Sugar cravings are common. Here are 4 ways to manage your sugar cravings.
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Neurotransmitter Brain Support Supplements
Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers neurons that move around your body to ensure everything signals correctly. They play a key role in managing many body processes, as well as central actions that take place in your brain, such as mood, learning, memory, and cognition.
If you are very stressed, you do a lot of emotional eating, and youre craving a lot of carbohydrates , your brain might need a little bit of help in the form of supplements, which literally tell your brain to calm down and quit craving a quick energy fix from carbs.
These supplements include amino acids, gamma-aminobutyric acid , and D-phenylalanine.
Why Is Sugar So Problematic
This wouldnt be a big issue if sugar wasnt so bad for your health. More and more information is coming out every year about just how dangerous sugar is for our minds and bodies.
In addition to contributing to poor blood sugars in people with diabetes, increased sugar intake, over time, also contributes to the development of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes in people without existing diabetes, and the development of dental cavities, higher blood pressure, heart disease, whole-body inflammation, dementia, weight gain, fatty liver disease, and even cancer in the entire population.
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Why Do You Have Sugar Cravings
If you crave your afternoon soda, struggle to stop at just one piece of chocolate, or even get a headache or feel irritable if you dont eat something sweet in the morning, youre not alone. Not only are sugar cravings common, but this compulsion to eat sugar is indeed real and physiologically motivated. So why do I crave sugar? you might be asking yourself. Turns out that the answer is kind of complicated.
Studies show that sugar is an addictive substance, eliciting even more of a potent response in the reward centers of the brain thandrugs like cocaine. Although these reward systems serve a biological survival role, they also can contribute to the addictiveness of a behavior, motivating you to seek out sweet food.
Every type of food activates the reward centers of the brain to some degree otherwise, the species would not be motivated to seek more food, and our survival would be at risk. According to research studies, sweet foods are especially triggering because they elicit a more dramatic increase in dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, and endogenous opioids, which are natural pain relievers that also add to feelings of a natural high or pleasure. These chemicals cause an emotional rush that can trigger future sugar cravings in order to replicate the feeling.
Embrace Sweet Fruits And Veggies
Nature created sweet flavors and theres no reason to demonize nature!
Mangoes, bananas, pineapples, papayas, sweet potatoes and other sweet, whole foods are packed with antioxidants and enzymes that are great for fighting wrinkles, eczema, bloating, inflammation and much more.
High sugar fruits naturally satisfy the sweet tooth and contain the vitamins and minerals we need to stay feeling and looking young.
The best way to get the benefits of the fruits?
Eat them when theyre quite ripe because ripe fruits alkalize the body .
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Opt For A Crave Less Patch
We know cravings are something everyone deals with – and theyre tough to kick. Our Crave Less Patch is designed to help you combat cravings with brindleberry, rockweed, oarweed, and green tea extract. Feel more focused, energized, and satisfied so you can knock out cravings and make healthy choices all around.
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.
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What Foods Reduce Sugar Cravings
Whole-grains and complex carbohydrates, which are higher in fiber, release glucose more slowly, so you get more stable glucose levels instead of having sugar spikes. Also, fiber takes longer to digest in the body, which leads to a higher feeling of fullness, she explains. Proteins and fats have the same effect. They take longer to digest, so they increase your fullness levels, reducing your cravings.
In other words, sugar fans the flame of sugar cravings. The more sugar you eat, the more sugar you will crave. Focusing on whole, natural, unprocessed foods such as lean proteins, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, seeds, nuts, and low-fat dairy will reduce sugar cravings.
Fruit is high in natural sugar, so depending on how sensitive you are to sugar cravings, you might be able to use fruit to help satisfy your cravings, but you may find that you do best avoiding most fruits.
How Did Sugar Become Such A Big Part Of The American Diet
Although it is ubiquitous now, sugar was once a luxury that only the rich could afford. Now, however, lower-income Americans consume it the most, with the average American consuming 77 grams per day, or 60 pounds of added sugar per year, according to the American Heart Association. Children consume even more of the sweet stuff 81 grams per day, or 65 pounds per year.
To understand how Americans came to consume so much sugar, you have to go back to World War II. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, sugar was used to make everything from antiseptics to explosives. Housewives were encouraged to use the syrup from leftover canned fruit to sweeten cakes. Sugar sales skyrocketed when the war ended, and it became a main ingredient in everything from cereal to pasta sauce.
Today, processed foods are cheaper than fresh fruits and vegetables, which means it can be cost-prohibitive for someone who doesnt have a lot of money to spend to avoid sugar actively.
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They Meet In The Middle
Instead of caving to your sugar craving entirely, try making healthier versions of your favorite dessertsones that still taste like dessert, but offer way more nutrients. When Im craving an ice cream-like dessert, I blend 1 frozen banana with 1/2 tablespoon of dark cocoa powder and 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter, says Connecticut-based registered dietitian Summer Yule, RDN. The banana provides the sweetness, as well as that satisfying, dessert-like texture, while the nutrients from the banana and peanut butter keep you from crashing later.
To satisfy candy bar-like cravings with fewer calories and more nutrients, Yule prepares a packet of plain instant oatmeal with water, stirs in 1 tablespoon of dark cocoa powder and some non-nutritive sweetener, then melts 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on top. It has all of the flavors of a peanut butter cup, but is filling due to the fiber in the oatmeal and the balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, says Yule.
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Identify The Root Cause
If you have tried steps 1 to 5 and havent noticed a significant reduction in your sugar cravings, there might be something else contributing to your sugar cravings. One common gut imbalance that contributes to increased sugar cravings is a Candida Albicans, also known as a yeast overgrowth. Consult with your doctor or with an alternative medicine practitioner to see if Candida overgrowth is contributing to your sugar cravings.
As you can see, there are many holistic steps that you can take to address and curb your sugar cravings. Once you implement these changes, you will see that sugar cravings are not all about willpower. By addressing your blood sugar stability and emotional state and giving yourself healthy alternatives, you will find that sugar cravings are no longer your enemy.
*Editors Note:The information in this article is intended for your educational use only does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center’s Mind-Body Medical Group and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.
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Eat Protein And Fat With Every Meal
Protein and fat slow down digestion, making you feel full longer and curbing sugar cravings better. Snacking on nuts or a small handful of trail mix when your sugar craving comes on strong can do wonders. If you must snack, stay away from sugary sweetsit will only make things worse! Stick with fruit or yogurt. If you must have something sweet, stick with fresh or frozen fruit . Youll get less added sugar that way.
How To Stop Sugar Cravings: 5 Tips For The Long Term
One of the best ways to manage sugar cravings is to stop them before they start. To help you do that:
- Skip artificial sweeteners. They donât necessarily lessen cravings for sugar. And they âhavenât demonstrated a positive effect on our obesity epidemic,” says Grotto, author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.
- Reward yourself for successfully managing sugar cravings. Your reward could be large or small. Remember why youâre working on it and then reward yourself for each successful step.
- Slow down. For 1 week, focus on your sugar cravings and think about what youâre eating, suggests Chambers. Diet mayhem often results from lack of planning. So slow down, plan, “and eat what you intend to eat, instead of eating when youâre desperate,” Chambers says.
- Get support. Many people turn to sweet foods when they’re stressed, depressed, or angry. But food doesn’t solve emotional issues. Consider whether emotions are involved in your sugar cravings and whether you need help to find other solutions to those emotional problems.
- Mix it up. You may need more than one strategy to thwart sugar cravings. One week you may find success with one tactic, and another week calls for an alternative approach. Whatâs important is to âhave a âbag of tricksâ to try,â Gerbstadt says. To tame sugar cravings, you really need to “figure out what works for you,” Neville says.
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How To Stop Sugar Cravings
Ready to go sugar-free? I recommend starting with a sugar detox to break the habit and allow the body to heal. This can be difficult, but going cold turkey might not be as difficult as you think. Stock your fridge with low-sugar fruit, like berries, to help ease those cravings.
You can also slowly wean yourself by reducing your sugar intake over time. Start by replacing refined sugar with natural sources, like coconut sugar or maple syrup, before transitioning fully off the sweet stuff. Heres how to tackle either kind of sugar detox.
Here are a few other things Ive found that can help you curb sugar cravings naturally.
Ways To End Sugar Cravings For Good According To Nutritionists
How often during the day are you plagued by a sugar craving? You’re at your desk getting work done when, all of a sudden, your sweet tooth kicks in. Instead of finishing that report your boss has been hounding you for, you’re focused on where you can get a chocolate chip cookie. Sugar cravings come at the worst times and can be really hard to resist. But, it is possible.
“Eating a varied diet that feels fresh and interesting will help stave off cravings,” says Keri Glassman, MS, RDN, and founder of Nutritious Life. “Persistently bland and repeated meals will only leave you craving a new and different flavor, and pining for the ‘what’s next’ after an unsatisfying meal,” Glassman explains.
The key is to avoid sweet cravings before they start, and luckily, there are many ways to do that. Here are 20 nutritionist-recommended ways to avoid pulling the trigger for a shot of sugar. Read on, and for more on healthy eating, don’t miss 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
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Why Is Excess Sugar Bad For You
So what if we want sugar every meal? Why does it have to be a bad thing? When you cave into those sugar cravings, your body responds right away and its not good.
- Promote weight gain and disrupt leptin and insulin signaling
- Accumulate and cause damage to your liver
- Raise uric acid levels
- Cause chromium deficiency
- Increase bad cholesterol and triglycerides
- Raise anxiety, hyperactivity, depression, and adrenaline
- Disrupt your ability to learn, focus, concentrate and be productive
- Increase antisocial behavior
- Cause crankiness and drowsiness in kids
- Up your chances of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and dementia
- Affect your hormones and lead you to polycystic ovary syndrome
You get the picture its bad.
So you know logically that you need to cut down on the sugar, but try explaining that to your brain during a sugar craving. It doesnt care about the logic at that point it wants that sugary latte pronto.
That is why you need to set yourself up for success with these 7 tips below. If you want to know how to curb sugar cravings, read on!