Astonishing Ways To Conquer Sugar Cravings
We know that sugar can take a toll on our bodies, but how do we manage and overcome cravings when they happen? There is a way to disrupt your cravings, and to conquer your addiction to sugar. Simply follow these tips, and youll be kicking your sugar habit for good. Its a sugar-free solution, made for real life and with real people in mind.
The Facts About Sugar
It’s only human to crave a chocolate-chip cookie or slice of cake once in a while. However, uncontrolled sugar cravings can sometimes push you into unhealthy dietary patterns and even contribute to significant health problems like diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay.
Luckily, with a little mindfulness and some lifestyle management techniques, you can continue to treat yourself to the odd desert while maintaining good health.
While adult men and women should have no more than five teaspoons and nine teaspoons respectively of sugar per day, the average adult actually consumes 22 teaspoons. The most common sources of sugar in the American diet are:
- sweetened cereals
- fruit juices
- flavored yogurts
Processed savory foods like bread, soup, lunch meats, and sauces also contain quite a lot of sugar. Sugar reacts with bacteria in dental plaque to form acid, which in turn dissolves tooth enamel and causes tooth decay.
You probably know that eating too much sugar contributes to chronic health conditions like obesity and Type 2 diabetes, but a high-sugar diet also has negative effects on heart health. One study showed that people who eat a lot of added sugar have a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who eat less.
If you’re trying to cut down on sugar intake, it’s important to read food labels and avoid products that contain the following ingredients:
Sometimes Its Possible To Create Changes In Life To Get These True Cravings Met:
- Leave or speak up in a relationship that isnt working for you
- Read a book that teaches skills to communicate differently to people that leave you feeling angry/taken advantage of
- Find more creative ways of rewarding yourself
- Change your job, or negotiate different conditions.
If its possible to make the change then do so, and notice what happens to those sugar cravings. But sometimes it feels impossible to make these big changes and we can feel very stuck. Often just the insight of what you are truly craving loosens the grip of power that it has over you. So rather than saying to yourself, Whats the matter with me, I just cant resist sweet food, you can instead start to see the craving as an attempt to get an important inner need met. You can begin to have a different conversation with yourself, Ah I see, Im craving this sugary food because of XYZ.
Sugar doesnt have to be the enemy, to be battled. When we switch our mind-set to see the sugar as an attempt to take care of ourselves, we can start to think creatively about our choices. Think of a child you know. Yes, they might want to keep eating sweet food until theyre sick, but as a parent, you likely allow sugar in moderation, and then engage them in a distracting activity that will appeal at least as much. What might be your equivalent? After all, as adults we too need a good balance of work, rest and play.
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Why Do You Crave Sugar
What is it precisely that allows some people to have a few bites of something sweet, or forgo it altogether, while others cannot seem to control themselves when it comes to sugar?
While a number of individual health and genetic differences may be at play here, there are a few common reasons why you might be craving more sweet stuff in general:
How To Break The Sugar Habit
Our sugar-laden diet is literally killing us. That’s the conclusion of a study reported at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in March 2013. The study authors attributed 180,000 annual deaths worldwide25,000 in the United States aloneto sugary beverages. Sodas and fruit drinks aren’t our only sources of sugar. The average American eats between 22 and 30 teaspoons of added sugar each day, according to the AHA.
“The harmful effects of sugar are primarily due to the weight gain from added sugar in the foods we eat and sugar-sweetened beverages,” says Dr. Michelle Hauser, certified chef and nutrition educator and clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Most of the deaths are related to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.”
How much sugar do we actually need? According to AHA guidelines, women shouldn’t get more than 100 of our daily calories from added sugar. In reality, “you don’t need any added sugar,” Dr. Hauser says.
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How To Stop Sugar Cravings Once And For All
Plus, the best foods to try when you’re in the mood for something sweet.
The average American woman consumes 48 pounds of added sugar every year. Thats four pounds a month! And dental cavities arent the only potential health problem we have to worry about. Eating too much sugar significantly raises your risk of life-shortening obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. In fact, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who exceeded the recommended daily limit of added sugar increased their risk of death due to heart disease by at least 30%.
Want to really take a break from sugar? Join our new membership club, GH+, to unlock access to Good Housekeeping‘s 21-day sugar detox plan, which will ease you out of your sugar cravings and help you form a healthy relationship with the sweet stuff.
Putting an end to sugar cravings and cutting back on added sugar is hard sweet foods tempt us at every turn and for many people, consuming those foods is a longtime habit associated with comfort or celebration. Sometimes sugar whispers at you from the grocery store aisle other times it screams at you from the freezer. The good news is, with some smart sugar strategies, you can significantly reduce your sugar cravings and take back your health.
Use Artificial Sweeteners Cautiously
Replacing sugar with low- or no-calorie sweeteners can help cut calories, but the safety of regularly consuming these artificial sweeteners is often questioned.
It has also been suggested that weight gain is a possible side effect, despite the reduced calorie count. This is due to the fact that artificial sweeteners may encourage eating behaviors that increase cravings not only for sweets but for food in general.
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Give Your Mouth Something To Do
Another great way to stave off sugar cravings is to give your mouth another distraction. Whether it’s chewing sugar-free gum, drinking a cup of warm herbal tea, or just doing something else, allow the craving to pass. “Allow enough time to pass while you drink or wait for the piping hot tea for you to think through the craving,” Moreno says. Most cravings last no longer than 30 minutes.
How To Stop Sugar Cravings: Eat More Regularly
Whilst were conditioned to think 3 meals a day is the best way to eat, this isnt strictly true. So if you find yourself experiencing serious sugar cravings a mere couple of hours after eating a meal, it could be time to re-think your eating routine.
Eating little and often can help avoid the temptation to indulge in sugar if you feel those pesky hunger pangs creeping in. Its also a great way to keep your blood sugar levels stable, too.
So how does it work?
Instead of 3 big meals a day, try switching to a small meal every 3-5 hours. These mini meals should be filling and rich in fibre, to help keep sugar cravings at bay. A light protein bowl, or cottage cheese with celery or carrots would work.
Sugar Detox Withdrawal Symptoms
Numerous studies have found that added sugars can produce changes in neurochemistry and behavior similar to those of other addictive drugs. When initially cutting out sugar after long-term use, one may experience withdrawal symptoms. Sugar detox symptoms should resolve within a few days, but may include:
What Causes Sugar Cravings
Have you ever wondered why you crave sugar? This is often explained by something simple like a bad habit, nutrient deficiency, or the food you eat. However, your brain plays a big role in causing you to crave sugar. 1
Your hippocampus, which is located in the temporal lobe of your brain, is what helps you remember the delicious taste of sweets. Think of your hippocampus as a computer. For example, when you eat a piece of dark chocolate, it is what remembers the taste.
It works with other parts of the brain. In each section of the brain, there is a caudate nucleus, which is what causes you to seek out a reward for behavior. This nucleus is what causes you to form habits.
The insula, also located in each part of the brain, is what produces satisfaction and emotions. For example, that first sip of a sugary soda increases dopamine and endorphin levels in your brain to provide you with pleasure.2
Dietary factors such as a low-protein diet, or eating a lot of simple carbohydrates such as starches, sugar, and fiber, also causes sugar cravings. Protein and healthy fats such as olive oil, omega-3 fatty acids, or avocado oil, regulate the release of sugar in your bloodstream and blood glucose levels. When you dont have enough, it causes blood glucose levels to rise and fall and lead to insulin resistance.
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Allow Yourself A Sugary Treat But Only A Small One
Going completely cold turkey when it comes to sugar can be a miserable experience. Having a little bit of what you love is a good compromise, whether thatâs one biscuit or a couple of squares of good quality chocolate. Just make sure youâre sticking to the UK sugar recommendations and opting for lower calorie options where possible.
Sugar Craving Cause: You Picked Up A Bad Habit
Some people smack their gum without even realizing it. Some people have picked their fingernails their entire lives. And, sigh, some people eat a chocolate barevery day at 3 p.m., because, well, they eat a chocolate bar every day at 3 p.m. Yep, bad habits.When something becomes a habit, especially when it comes to food, you have to ask yourself: Am I aware Im doing it? Do I really want to be doing it? Am I truly craving what Im eating?
When youre really hungry and you havent eaten enough throughout the day, breaking a 3 p.m. vending machine run is going to be tough. But if you start to eat more consistently throughout the day and get in enough of calories, then your defenses are up and its easier to change that habit.
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How To Stop Sugar Cravings With One Single Trick
How to stop sugar cravings? I think this one single question is probably at the top of the list for a lot of people trying to clean up their diets and for visitors to Clean Cuisine. Figuring out how to stop sugar cravings is proving to be the single biggest challenge for most people.
Trust me, I can totally relate! From the time I was young I lovedand cravedsugar. I literally could not think straight if I had to go too long without it. I craved sugar so much that in high school I remember carrying around a zip lock bag of Lucky Charms cereal in my backpack because I needed a sugar fix between classes. With marshmallows and corn syrup as the second and third ingredients, Lucky Charms was one of my absolute favorite cereals. And there was just no way I could make it from my 7 am morning bowl all the way to lunchtime at noon without a fix.
Although I didnt know much about nutrition or clean eating back then, I knew enough to know that eating absurd amounts of sugar was not a good idea. I also knew enough to know that I had a problem with sugar because I noticed other kids somehow managed to survive morning classes without dipping in to their emergency stash of Lucky Charms. However, back then I never even thought about how to stop sugar cravings because, to be honest, I couldnt really see how my sugar problem was harming me all that much. I wasnt overweight, I seemed to have plenty of energy, I didnt have diabetes, etc.
Ways To Stop Cravings For Unhealthy Foods And Sugar
Food cravings are the dieters worst enemy.
These are intense or uncontrollable desires for specific foods, stronger than normal hunger.
The types of foods that people crave are highly variable, but these are often processed junk foods that are high in sugar.
Cravings are one of the biggest reasons why people have problems losing weight and keeping it off.
Here are 11 simple ways to prevent or stop unhealthy food and sugar cravings.
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Can You Quit Sugar Cold Turkey
Knowing how to quit sugar is one thing but should you go cold turkey or take it slowly? Cutting down can be tough and going cold turkey rarely gets long-lasting results, warns Rob. Psychology plays a huge role as mood, boredom and habit can drive your desire for the sweet stuff. A lack of sleep, skipping meals, hormones and visual temptation can also contribute to sugar cravings, he says.
But there are ways to manage this challenging period. Some people suffer blood sugar imbalances making them feel rather jittery. But this can be avoided by eating sufficient protein, advises Suzie.
If you find the thought of going cold turkey too extreme weaning yourself off slowly may suit you better. A useful approach is to make small changes to your diet. Reduce the sugar you add to coffee or tea, choose lower-sugar food products and switch sweet treats for healthy alternatives such as fresh fruit, suggests Rob.
Apples can help reduce sugar cravings.
Eat A Healthy Balanced Diet
The quality of your calories also matters. Eating more protein, more nutrient dense foods, and including fiber-rich foods may help.
Protein intake has often been associated with improved appetite and weight management, so it is no surprise that studies suggest including meat or fish with your meals can curb sugar cravings . In fact. in one study, increased protein intake helped reduce cravings a by 60% .
Some research suggests that restricting carbs to low levels can cause carb and sugar cravings . And fiber-rich foods, like whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and legumes, are associated with improved appetite, blood sugar control and improved weight management .
Low intakes of chromium, vanadium, magnesium, and zinc are also linked to an increased number of sugar cravings . Opt for broccoli, turkey, beef, potatoes, eggs, whole grains, and green beans for chromium dairy, shellfish, dill and parsley for vanadium whole grains, beans, spinach and pumpkin seeds for more magnesium and meat, shellfish, beans, nuts and dairy for zinc.
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Why Is Sugar Addictive
Many people simply wonder why sugar is addictive. Certainly, not many people report an addiction to broccoli, so there has to be a reason! That reason is found in the chemical release of hormones in our brain when we eat sugar.
With every sweet bite, dopamine is released from our brain into our bodies. This is the link between added sugar and addictive behavior that is also found in substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal drugs.
The neurotransmitter dopamine is part of the reward circuit in the brain thats associated with addictive behavior. The high one feels from eating sugar makes one addicted to said behavior , creating a vicious cycle.
As you repeat the behavior more often your body adjusts to release less dopamine over time. The only way to feel the same high as before is to increase the release of dopamine, which in this case means to eat more and more sugar.
These same behaviors are found in people with drug and alcohol dependencies, but for sugar, the ingredient is much more accessible, available, and socially acceptable than illegal drugs, making it also much harder to avoid in everyday life.
On average, an average adult in the U.S. consumes around 77 grams of sugar a day, or about 60 pounds of sugar per year!
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.
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Low Sugar Meals Delivered
Cooking more of your meals at home is one way to decrease added sugar in your diet. But if you don’t have the time or skill set to meal prep for yourself, how about a healthy meal delivery program?
Pick a meal plan that fits your taste and fitness needs and get consistent, healthy meals to help you stay balanced and on track. Plus, little to no added sugar to help you detox and cut cravings for good.