A Fluctuation In Blood Sugar
If youre craving sweets all of a sudden, most likely you are experiencing blood sugar fluctuations, Goodman explains. When your blood sugar drops, your body may be trying to get you to give it more fuel to keep your blood sugar levels stable.” To keep your blood sugar balanced, she recommends eating a healthy amount of protein and adding more high-fiber foods, like beans and legumes, to your diet, along with complex carbs. This will give you the fuel you need without the blood sugar spikes, she promises.
When your blood sugar drops, your body may be trying to get you to give it more fuel to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Eat A Naturally Sweet Snack
When a craving hits, instead of running for the candy drawer try something that will give you fuel, too. “If you need a shot of sugar along with energy that will last longer, try making a trail mix with almonds, dried fruit, and a few dark chocolate chips,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It Taking You from Label to Table. “This snack is portable and will not only provide that sweetness you crave, but you’ll also get protein and healthy fat from the nuts, and iron and fiber from the fruit.”
What Foods Reduce Sugar Cravings
Peralta explains that eating simple carbohydrates , such as foods like cookies, cakes, pastries, white bread, and white pasta, can lead to more 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.
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Simple Ways To Stop Sugar Cravings
Dietitian Brooke Delfino shares six effective ways to stop sugar cravings for good.
Why do we often fancy something sweet after eating a perfectly satisfying meal? An extra piece of toast with jam after breakfast, a biscuit after lunch, or chocolate, ice-cream and other sweet desserts after dinner. The good news is that sugar cravings can be controlled, according to emerging research. The answer lies in your food choices at main meals, plus tweaking your behaviour around food.
We reveal six strategies for beating those between-meal munchies and sugar cravings, so you can retrain your brain to think about food in a healthier way.
What Foods Help Reduce Sugar Cravings
There are plenty of foods out there that can help you reduce your sugar cravings. Eating protein will help balance your blood sugar, for example, so adding foods like salmon, turkey, chickpeas, nuts, and beans will do you good. When it comes to choosing vegetables, kale cant be beat. Other great vegetables for reducing sugar are cruciferous ones like cabbage and broccoli, and fermented vegetables like kimchi and sauerkraut. Consider adding foods like chia seeds or avocado good thing theyre both delicious!
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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!
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.
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Dont Overindulge In Sweeteners
Studies suggest that overeating sweetened foods, even sugar-free ones, may reinforce or increase your dependence on sugar and sweet foods .
Resist the temptation to replace eating lots of sugary foods with eating lots of sugar-free-sweetened foods instead, focus on eating a well-rounded diet with appropriate macros and indulging in treats once or twice each day, or even just a few times a week.
While this isnt necessarily an issue for everyone, it sometimes pays to take a break from sweets altogether and rebalance your palate. After a few weeks or a month, you can try coming back to keto-friendly sweets and enjoy a healthier relationship with this type of food.
Greek Yogurt And Cinnamon
Greek yogurt has lots of protein, which is a slower-burning fuel than carbs.
Pair it with cinnamon, which research shows may have anti-inflammatory properties and may impact blood sugar levels in a positive way, is an easy way to add flavor.
For this snack, add a pinch of cinnamon to a 3/4 cup of plain low-fat Greek yogurt.
You can also add a 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh mango or blueberries to the snack to give it some more flavor, suggests Taylor.
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Salty And Savory Foods
Sweet foods arent the only ones that can curb sugar cravings. Salty and savory foods can also improve your cravings by supplying you with protein, healthy fats, and a different satisfying sensation.
Some of the best sources of clean keto-friendly protein include:
If you dont love eating nuts and seeds whole, you can always opt for nut and seed butters that are equally healthy and keto-friendly. Nut butters can be enjoyed on their own, as a spread, as a dip, in smoothies, or as a part of low-carb recipes like peanut butter cups.
If you arent making your nut butter at home, always remember to buy only high-quality nut butters with simple ingredients and no added sugar or artificial preservatives.
Non-starchy veggies like leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are rich in dietary fiber, which slows down digestion and improves satiety .
When food digests slowly, energy is produced slower over a longer period of time. This helps to prevent energy spikes and dips that might be followed by sugar cravings.
Some of the healthiest keto-friendly vegetables include:
Vegetables also have many other health benefits including providing vitamins and minerals, supporting gut and heart health .
Are Artificial Sweeteners Better
Artificial sweeteners, which are sugar-free and typically lower in calories than sugar, might seem like healthier options, but that idea is controversial. A 2012 scientific statement from the AHA concluded that using artificial sweeteners such as aspartame , saccharin , and sucralose can reduce the number of calories in your diet, thereby helping you lose weight.
However, there’s also evidence that eating these sweeteners, which are generally hundredsor even thousandsof times sweeter than sugar, can make you crave sweets even more. You undermine the benefit of using artificial sweeteners, for example, if you use a glass of diet soda to justify having a bowl of ice cream.
However, if artificial sweeteners can help you cut back on calories in a meaningful way, then they can be helpful in controlling weight and blood sugar. “For people who are trying to make small changes to their diet, artificial sweeteners are sometimes a good stepping stone, but they’re not a permanent fix,” Dr. Hauser says.
You may wonder which artificial sweetener is best. All of the sweeteners on the market are considered safe. There were reports during the 1970s linking saccharin to bladder cancer in rats that were fed extremely high doses of the sweetener. However, later studies didn’t find any evidence of the same effect in humans. Aspartame was also linked to cancer at one time, but that association has also been disproved.
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Your Moods May Be Better
If you previously dealt with mood swings, stabilizing your blood sugar may help you feel more even-keeled, says Young. And if you previously reached for candy as a mental pick-me-up in the middle of a stress-filled workday, youre best leaving that habit behind. A 2019 study that looked at carbohydrate consumption and mood found a sugar rush isnt a mood-booster, but it does make you foggy-headed and sleepy within the hour.
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!”
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Is It Worth It In The Long Term
Visualizing the long-term consequences of snacking or otherwise indulging can help some people to curb cravings.
These consequences may include:
- feeling reduced levels of energy and happiness throughout the day
This exercise can also help a person to see the big picture and remember why they are dieting or trying to restrict their intake of certain foods.
Stress can play a role in hunger cravings, and long-term stressors can cause some people to crave foods that are sugary or more calorie-dense.
Finding ways to reduce stress may help to eliminate cravings.
Simple means of reducing stress, such as taking regular breaks from work, or even taking a few deep breaths, can help the body to refocus and calm the mind.
It may also help to try mindful stress-relieving practices, such as:
- breathing exercises
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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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Dr Frank Lipman On Sugar
As a serious sugar addict still struggling with my addiction I know first hand how difficult it is to get off sugar, and to stay off it. Part of the reason its so hard to kick the habit is that over time our brains actually become addicted to the natural opioids that are triggered by sugar consumption. Much like the classic drugs of abuse such as cocaine, alcohol and nicotine, a diet loaded with sugar can generate excessive reward signals in the brain which can override ones self-control and lead to addiction.
What Is Sugar Face
Nigma Talib, a naturopath who works with celebrities, has popularized the term Sugar Face to describe the effects that excess sugar has on the skin. Supposedly, she can look at someone’s face and determine if they have a sweet tooth by the appearance and the location of their blemishes and wrinkles.
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The Health Consequences Of Sugar Addiction
Sugar is a highly addictive substance. Sweet foods have long been known to provide a sense of comfort in times of depression, sadness, or exhaustion. As a result, fighting the sugar craving is a difficult task. However, in order to moderate your consumption or even eliminate sugar from your diet, you must first understand the negative effects of excessive sugar consumption on the body and health. Excess sugar in the diet can lead to a variety of symptoms and illnesses. It promotes, in particular:
- Obesity if the addiction persists
- Cancers, including pancreas, liver, colon, and stomach cancers
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.
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How To Stop Sugar Cravings
Dr. Sarika Arora, MD
Craving sugar is an irresistible urge. If you love sugar, you already know its a highly addictive substance it affects your brain the way drugs do, with plenty of unpleasant aftereffects.
Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain along with serious health consequences, like hormonal imbalance, Alzheimers, skin and dental issues, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and even some forms of cancer. You can stop your urgent sugar cravings but you have to know whats causing them first.
If youre ready to stop riding the sugar rollercoaster, we can help.
What Might Happen If You Stop Eating Bread Altogether
When youre planning to start eating healthy, bread is often one of the first foods you want to exclude from your diet. But when it comes to carbs, grains arent the same, and while ditching white bread may help you shed a few pounds, cutting out whole-grain bread can deplete your body with much-needed nutrients.
We love our delicious toast and were not ready to give it up, so we decided to find out what happens if you decide to give up bread altogether.
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Eat Dates With Nut Butter
Dried fruit has a higher amount of sugar than fresh fruit. This means that dried picks are more likely to spike blood sugar and lead to a sugar craving. However, pairing dates with high-protein nut butter thats full of healthy fats can give us the stable blood sugar boost our body needs. A quick snack of dates and nut butter can satisfy your sugar cravings while also giving you an extra bit of fiber, iron, potassium, and loads of other vitamins and minerals.
Win The Inner Battle With Sugar
Sugar cravings, as well as cravings for reward, solace and celebration, are natural. Remember its ok to use sugar to deal with lifes problems some of the time most people do. Difficulties occur when sugar becomes the go-to way of dealing with problems it wasnt designed to fix. By figuring out what you are truly craving, and developing a range of ways of dealing with it, you will be in control, not the sugar.
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Foods For Reducing Sugar Cravings
Now that youre convinced you need to ditch the white stuff, I have to tell you that its not easy to curb those sugar cravings. Even I, who eat extremely healthy, have struggled with how to curb sugar cravings. The best thing you can do to help sugar cravings is to cut sugar out completely. I recommend a complete detox, which I did when I recently did he Further Food 10 Day Sugar Detox At the same time, it is important to add in foods into your diet that can help beat the sugar cravings and keep you full longer.
Check out these 11 foods to reduce sugar cravings as well as sugar detox recipes that will help curb sugar cravings and help you reboot your body.