How Do You Get Rid Of Sugar Cravings
Controlling sugar cravings will vary depending on the individual, what their habits are, what they eat, and health conditions. If youre considering a diet change in response to why you crave sugar, its a good idea to check with your doctor first.
Here are a few tips for reducing sugar cravings to feel your best:
Be conscious of your hunger and eat when you feel hungry.Allowing yourself to get to an extreme level of hunger may trigger your body to crave carbs and sugars to get a quick energy boost.
Prioritize getting enough sleep.Sleep is helpful in controlling your appetite because your body isnt fighting to get more energy if it feels rested.
Drink water.Adequate hydrationcan naturally help you feel more energized, and it helps your body work at its best.
Check labels.Sugars often hide in processed foods under other names that end in -ose. Try to check the nutrition facts label before purchasing processed foods to avoid consuming unwanted sugars.
Eat meals that are rich in protein and healthy fats.Protein and fat both help to make you feel satiated, and when combined with complex carbohydrates, this trio of macronutrients will help you stay full for longer.
Try Mindful Eating Or Urge Surfing
If your sugar addiction relates to binging or emotional eating, mindful eating and urge surfing are your must-try techniques.
Research suggests that mindfulness around eating is effective for addressing these types of eating issues.
In a nutshell, mindful eating means paying more attention to your food. As a result, youll enjoy healthy meals more, and may also have an easier time avoiding sweet foods.
Heres how to do it:
On the other hand, urge surfing is more useful for dealing directly with sugar cravings whenever they come up.
Urge surfing was originally invented by the psychologist G. Alan Marlatt, Ph.D, to help people deal with cravings to use addictive drugs.
Its based on the idea that cravings or urges are like waves that gradually become more intense, peak, and then crash on their own if you dont act upon them.
Heres how to surf your urges:
Find Out About Hidden Food Allergies
Hidden food allergies and food sensitivities can trigger cravings and make you fall back into old habits. For example, did you know that gluten and milk allergies can decrease blood flow to the brain and decrease your judgment? In addition, food allergies can cause concentration problems and anxiety, which can increase cravings. To find out if you have any food sensitivities, try an elimination diet. Stop eating corn, soy, dairy, gluten, artificial sweeteners, and food colorings for 3 weeks then introduce them back into your diet one at a time and see if you have any reactions.
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Why Do We Crave Sugar
There are many reasons why we go for sweet things.
That appetite may be hardwired. “Sweet is the first taste humans prefer from birth,” says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, a dietitian and American Dietetic Association spokeswoman. Carbohydrates stimulate the release of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. Sugar is a carbohydrate, but carbohydrates come in other forms, too, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
The taste of sugar also releases endorphins that calm and relax us, and offer a natural “high,” says Susan Moores, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in St. Paul, Minn.
Sweets just taste good, too. And that preference gets reinforced by rewarding ourselves with sweet treats, which can make you crave it even more. With all that going for it, why wouldnt we crave sugar?
The problem comes not when we indulge in a sweet treat now and then, but when we over-consume, something thats easy to do when sugar is added to many processed foods, including breads, yogurt, juices, and sauces. And Americans do overconsume, averaging about 22 teaspoons of added sugars per day, according to the American Heart Association, which recommends limiting added sugars to about 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 for men.
You Might Be Wondering What About The Glucose Tolerance Test
When it comes to the glucose tolerance test, taking a reading just 1 hour after taking the glucose drink is inadequate.
It needs to be tested 2, 3, and 4 hours after to see how your blood sugar levels and insulin respond.
Some people can get a normal 1 hour reading, then spike at the 2, 3 or 4 hour mark, which is an indication that their blood sugar management needs support.
Thankfully, you neednt sit at a pathology lab to take these readings. You can do this test at home using a glucometer and strips you can purchase from the chemist pretty cheaply.
One of the best strategies is to test your blood sugar after a typical meal that you feel may be contributing to your fatigue.
Test 1, 2, 3, and 4 hours after your meal and write down the readings. Do this for a few days.
You might be surprised at what meals can spike your blood sugar levels!
Of course, your blood sugar levels can also spike due to stress, so monitoring and noting down your stress during each day will also help.
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Water From An Air Up Bottle
Its been reported that 16 million Brits want to reduce their sugar intake but are struggling due to a lack of alternatives, which is why we love the clever water bottles from Air Up. Using a specific technology called retronasal smell, Air Up bottles contain a scent pod that fools your brain into thinking youre tasting a flavoured drink when youre drinking water.
You can buy the reusable water bottles and recyclable flavour pods from the Air Up website. The Starter Set, which includes one bottle and two scent pods, is priced from £29.95.
Add Some Sweetness To Your Life
Some people crave sweets out of boredom or loneliness. Are you missing some sweetness in your life?
If so, what sweet acts can you do that dont involve eating?
It could be listening to a favourite song, watching a cat video on YouTube, connecting with a loved one, going for a walk, journaling, or doing something kind for yourself
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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.
Retrain Your Taste Buds To Accept Less Sweet Foods
Getting your taste buds onside can help make nutrition-packed choices a lot easier as you will be naturally drawn to better food options.
- Cut back then cut out sugar in hot drinks and at breakfast, and add less honey to your smoothies.
- Opt for water as your drink of choice. Try limiting all flavoured drinks, including sugar-free versions with sweeteners. They may not have sugar but they may still encourage you to like sweet-tasting things.
- Try low-fat unsweetened yoghurt rather than varieties with added sugar. It may taste odd to start with but you will get used to it. Add a little fresh or frozen fruit for sweetness if needed.
- Enjoy nut butters , avocado or hummus on your bread or crackers rather than jam or honey.
- Get into green juice, tomato juice or water rather than sweetened drinks diet or otherwise.
- If you are going to have chocolate, opt for a few squares of dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa. It is much less sweet but still a treat.
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How Long Does It Take To Withdraw From Sugar
Youve decided its time to learn how to give up sugar, so what can you expect? Sugar is known to be addictive and to have similar effects on the brain as some recreational drugs, says Adrienne. When you cut it from your diet, youre likely to crave it more. Youll possibly also experience low mood and anxiety as dopamine levels reduce, as well as disrupted sleep, headaches and fatigue, she explains.
These feelings should only last a few days, she adds reassuringly. But they may last longer depending upon how much sugar you currently consume.
Although withdrawing from sugar does not provoke the same unpleasant symptoms as stopping caffeine says Suzie, if you eat a lot of the white stuff youre likely to feel its absence. Certainly for the first few days, people may suffer from very strong sugar cravings. Plus, they may notice energy levels flagging as the body adjusts, explains Suzie. However, tastebuds may change within one to two weeks and sugar cravings can disappear.
When Rats Were Given The Choice Between Water Sweetened With Saccharin And Intravenous Cocaine 94% Chose The Saccharin Water
One study out of France, presented at the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, showed that when rats were given the choice between water sweetened with saccharin and intravenous cocaine, 94% chose the saccharin water. When the water was sweetened with sucrose , the same preference was observedthe rats overwhelmingly chose the sugar water. When the rats were offered larger doses of cocaine, it did not alter their preference for the saccharin or sugar water. Even rats addicted to cocaine, switched to sweetened water when given the choice. In other words, intense sweetness was more rewarding to the brain than cocaine.
The American Psychiatric Association defines addiction to include three stages: bingeing, withdrawal and craving. Until recently, the rats had only met two of the elements of addiction, bingeing and withdrawal. But recent experiments by Princeton University scientist, Professor Bart Hoebel, and his team showed craving and relapse as well. By showing that excess sugar led not only to bingeing and withdrawal, but to cravings for sweets as well, the final critical component of addiction fell into place and completed the picture of sugar as a highly addictive substance.
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Plan And Enjoy Nutrition
It may sound obvious but this is a vital starting point. One reason you may end up opting for sweet food and drink is that they are a quick fix when you are hungry and give you a hit. The hit is short-lived, though, so avoid getting yourself into situations where you grab something your body doesnt really want or need.
- Plan your meals and snacks in advance and be sure to include low GI, high-fibre, carbohydrate foods such as wholegrain breads and cereals and pulses . Avoid refined carbohydrates such as white bread, bagels and high-sugar cereals.
- Include protein with all your meals and snacks to help you feel fuller for longer and stabilise your blood sugar. Also include a little healthy fat to provide your body with the essential fatty acids it needs to work at its best.
- Nuts and seeds are perfect for a healthy snack or sprinkled on your breakfast, salads or stir-fried vegetables. They have protein, healthy fats and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
- Pack in the vegetables. Aim for at least three to four big handfuls a day and aim to include different colours.
Emotional Eating For Stress Relief
Second, as if the addictive properties of sugar werent enough, many people eat sugar emotionallyfor stress relief.
Even if you arent usually addicted to sugar, stress can trigger sugar cravings.
Peer-reviewed research suggests these eating patterns involve reward pathways, hunger hormones, serotonin signaling, and glucocorticoid receptors in your body.
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How To Stop Sugar Cravings Instantly
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Pair Fruit With Protein
Pairing fruit with a protein will calm your craving and the protein-packed ingredients will keep you feeling satisfied longer. Kathy Siegel, MS, RDN, CDN New York-based registered dietitian and nutrition consultant for Triad to Wellness suggests trying a banana dipped in natural peanut butter, mandarin oranges, toasted almonds and cottage cheese or a smoothie made with berries, a banana, milk and ice.
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Include Complex Carbs In Your Meals
Sugar is a simple, harmful carbohydrate while fiber and starch are complex beneficial carbs. Incorporate complex carbs in every meal of the day and watch the sugar cravings run away. For breakfast, add oats and cereals to the table. Replace milky bread with whole wheat bread at lunch. Eat some rice with beans or peas for dinner, and youll be good to go.
Have Protein For Breakfast
Cravings are much harder to manage if you let your blood sugar spike in the morning, only to drop again a couple hours later. Incorporating protein in your breakfast is part of the important game plan for controlling appetite throughout the day. Consuming some form of protein at every meal, especially breakfast, increases satiety and has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar. This improves our appetite control and can help prevent us from reaching for a sweet snack mid-morning and will keep mindless munching at bay throughout the day.
Pro tip: A strategy is to double up on unsuspecting protein sources in the morning think chia seed pudding with almonds or a smoothie with our famous plant-based Rebuild Clean Protein.
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Take Magnesium To Balance Your Blood Sugar
Magnesium is an important mineral for the role it plays in the body. Best absorbed at night, its a fairly affordable mineral supplement that can benefit almost anyone and has endless benefits from supporting sleep to muscle recovery and balancing blood sugar levels. Some evidence shows that insulin resistance may in part be due to low magnesium , so ensuring your levels are optimal will support your weight loss efforts. You can buy magnesium powder in almost any health food or grocery store or and mix a spoon full with warm water before bed.
Three Balanced Meals A Day
Stick to three regular meals and day and dont skip breakfast as the first meal of the day will keep you full for longer and maintain balanced blood sugar, says Adrienne. She adds: Most people find that when they introduce adequate fat and protein to their diet, their energy becomes more stable and cravings diminish.
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Break The Sugar Addiction
If you’re “hooked” on sugar, don’t try to eliminate all sugary foods at once. If you deny yourself even a single piece of candy or sliver of cake, you’ll only crave sweets more. Instead, eat a healthy diet made up of more satisfying foodswhole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy oils, and lean protein. “Steer yourself away from sugar and eat these foods, which are digested more slowly. They’ll help to even out your blood sugar and you won’t have spikes and crashes all the time,” Dr. Hauser says.
Here are a few suggestions to help you break the sugar habit:
Keep sugary foods away. Don’t tempt yourself by stocking candy, cookies, and other high-sugar foods in your cupboards and fridge. “As a substitute for these things, keep fruit around,” suggests Dr. Hauser.
Sweeten foods yourself. Start with unsweetened iced tea, plain yogurt, and unflavored oatmeal. Then add your own sweetener. No matter how much sweetener you add, you probably won’t put in as much as the manufacturer would have, according to Dr. Hauser.
Watch for hidden sugars in foods. Be wary of foods where sugar tends to hide, including reduced-fat products. “When companies take out the fat, they add back almost all the calories in sugar,” Dr. Hauser says. Read labels. Avoid products that list sugar as the first ingredient or that contain several different types of sugar it’s one way manufacturers avoid having sugar listed as the first ingredient.