Get Some Exercise To Curb Sugar Cravings
When you exercise, it reduces your stress levels. This is important when cutting back on sugar, because high stress levels may lead you to reach for sugary foods. The exercise doesnt have to be strenuous to have a positive effect. Even a brisk walk can help reduce your stress levels and keep you on track.
Foods That Stop Sugar Cravings
I find that whenever I significantly cut sugar from my diet that everything changesfor the better. I physically and mentally feel better. My energy is high, I’m alert and that “fog” in my brain is lifted.
But getting there is tough, and fighting off the cravings is a constant battle. So, what should you eat when you’re in the process of eliminating sugar from your diet without diving head first into, you know, a giant bowl of ice cream? We went to the experts for their best suggestions on the foods to add to your diet that will ease you into a sugar-free existence with as little pain as possible, including David Zinczenko, author of Zero Sugar Diet.
Limit Your Access To Sugary Foods
In the case of sugar cravings, that old adage out of sight, out of mind definitely rings true. Many of us eat sweet foods out of habit and convenience. Were used to buying those foods and keeping them in our desk drawer or in the pantry at home. One of the best ways to change these habits is to make eating sweet foods really difficult, and to make healthy options really easy.
Identify those times of day when you have really bad sugar cravings and get to work on removing temptation. If you crave an iced coffee first thing in the morning, avoid routes that take you past the local shop or vending machine. If you find yourself reaching for the sweets when you watch TV, clear your cupboard of tempting sugary snacks and keep some pre-cut veggie sticks and dip in your fridge as a healthy alternative. Or try to occupy your hands with another task like knitting or folding washing instead. Since eating is such a social activity, getting your friends and family on board can really help if youre trying to beat your sugar cravings. For instance, see if you can switch your afternoon coffee and cake for an afternoon walk, and ask your loved ones to refrain from bringing sweets around as gifts.
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Eat More Fruit Instead Of Refined Sugar
Fruit is great for satisfying your sugar cravings without eating processed sugar. Although fruit contains natural sugar, it also has plenty of fiber, which helps control your blood sugar levels. However, the natural sugar fruit contains does add up, so its best to limit your fruit intake to 2-3 servings per day. Add in sweeter vegetables, like sweet potatoes.
What Other Foods Satisfy Sugar Cravings
If you’re 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 it’s 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 don’t end up reaching for junk food to get your sugar fix. Dates are also a good choice, and they’re as nutritious as they are sweet. They’re 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 they’re not only high in protein but also in fat.
You don’t 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 it’s 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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As you might know, people who eat sugar regularly are more likely to crave it. However, sugar cravings can also occur among low-carb eaters, especially when starting a ketogenic diet.
In this article, youre going to learn everything you need to know about sugar cravings, including what causes them, what foods can help you curb the cravings, and what other ways you can control them.
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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They Eat A Hard Candy
Many people have issues controlling their sweets intakeparticularly, if its a favorite. To quell a craving, Ill have a small piece of candy , one thats sweet but that I wont overdo, says New York-based registered dietitian Katherine Brooking, RD. The candy offers a shot of sugar when youre feeling extra ravenous for the stuff, but takes longer to eatand by the time youre done, your craving might be too.
Know Your Sugars And Learn How To Recognize Sugar In Disguise
Sugar hides in many labels and we need to be detectives. We know that added sugars are present in cookies and junk food. However, you can also find added sugar in many savory foods like pasta sauce, dressings, canned foods, cereal, protein bars, juices, yogurts, dairy free milks and even cans of salmon.
Why? To make it taste great and trick your brain into wanting more and more and more.
On a food nutrition label, you wonât easily find the hidden sugars in it. There are some manufacturers who add 74% of sugar to their packaged foods on grocery shelves in your local supermarket. So, while skipping dessert is a good idea, you may still be eating foods with even more sugar than a dessert. There are over 50 different sugars added to your food under hidden names. For the extensive list of hidden names and valuable information on how to read the labels and play detective, read, How to Read Labels and Detect Hidden Sugar.
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Eat These Foods To Reduce Sugar Cravings
From frozen fruit to condiments, sugar can be found in many things. Candy bars at store checkout counters and bottled soda at gas stations make it easy for us to get our sugar fix.
You can consume a healthy dinner and then find yourself wanting something sweet. Many factors can trigger this craving, including, lack of sleep, feeling thirsty, or hedonic hunger .
Why Do We Crave Sugar?
Sometimes, even the site of a sugary food can excite the reward circuit of the brain. Tasting the sweet treat causes the brain to release dopamine, a pleasure hormone.
In addition to flooding the brain with dopamine, too many sweet treats can increase sugar cravings. The brain eventually needs more sugar to achieve the same pleasure threshold of previous cravings.
Fortunately, you can keep sugar cravings in check by focusing on eating whole foods. Incorporate these foods into your diet to consume less sugar and to give your body key nutrients such as protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
Almonds can help keep your blood sugar steady, decreasing sugar cravings. The heart-healthy fats in these nuts keep you full longer, reducing the likelihood of grabbing something sweet between meals because of decreased energy. Prepare sandwich baggies with a handful of almonds to snack on at the office, or add them to your salad or oat meal.
Fresh or Frozen Fruit
The Connection Between Blood Glucose Curve And Cravings
As humans, taste is an important factor that governs our eating behaviors. Most of us have a natural inclination to sweet-tasting foods as they are often tastier. Because our bodies desire that optimal taste factor, it can often lead to consuming food high in sugar. Consuming a high amount of sugar leads to a blood glucose spike, which induces insulin secretion to take the blood glucose up into the cells. Consequently, too much sugar in the body can cause a rapid rise in insulin concentration, which causes a rapid glucose uptake from the blood to the cells resulting in a dip in blood glucose levels, which can then can lead to more sugar cravings .
A dip in blood glucose levels can also occur when we havent eaten enough food. As blood glucose is a source of energy for your body, this can lead to food cravings. And these food cravings are often for high-carbohydrate and high-sugar foods.
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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 doesn’t have a lot of money to spend to avoid sugar actively.
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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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. 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, which have fiber and nutrients your body needs.
The taste of sugar also releases endorphins that calm and relax us, and offer a natural “high,” says Susan Moores, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in St. Paul, MN.
Sweets just taste good, too. And that preference gets reinforced when you reward yourself with sweet treats, which can make you crave it even more. With all that going for it, why wouldnât we crave sugar?
The problem comes not when we indulge in a sweet treat now and then, but when we overdo it. Thatâs easy to do when sugar is added to many processed foods, including breads, yogurt, juices, and sauces. And Americans do overeat it, averaging 17 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.
Drink Plenty Of Water
The great thing about drinking water regularly is that, as well as quenching your thirst, it also helps to fill you up, making you less likely to go for that extra snack. So next time you feel the temptation to reach for a sugar fix, try drinking a glass of water first. After youve finished, wait for 15 minutes and see if your craving has passed. When plain water wont hit the spot, try green tea or herbal tea instead. You could also try one of our flavoured water recipes.
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Foods That Curb Sugar Cravings
Do you crave sweet foods morning, noon, and night? Do you need to have a sugar fix at 3pm or before bed? Do you find yourself daydreaming about sugary decadent foods all day long? These cravings might feel like they are taking over your mind, but there is hope that you can defeat the sugar demon and take control of your cravings.
Healthiest Foods To Stop Your Cravings According To Rds
If you find yourself battling food cravings, you’re not alone. Food cravings are an everyday occurrence for many of us, and they can happen for multiple different reasons.
“There are a number of things that can influence cravings such as hormones, lack of sleep, and even hydration status,” says Amber Pankonin MS, RD, LMNT, registered dietitian and owner of Stirlist. “I also have found that when people are super restrictive with their diets or cut out entire food groups, they tend to crave foods they miss. then binge on high-calorie foods, which can lead to feelings of guilt and shame.”
Another reason behind your cravings is stress. “The primary stress hormone is cortisol. Cortisol increases appetite. And while stress may go away , your cortisol levels will then typically lower as well,” says Amy Kimberlain, RDN, CDCES, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “However, if stress persists and is more of a long-term stress, the cortisol levels may stay elevated as well, again, playing a direct role in our appetite and the foods that we gravitate towards.”
And this year especially, you might be experiencing more cravings than normal. “Another reason why people gravitate toward ‘cravings/an appetite for junk’ is because food can satisfy an emotional need we find comfort in food at times The key is finding other ways to find comfort and not rely on food as our sole source,” adds Kimberlain.
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Think About Food Order
The order you eat your food matters. The best way to eat any meal is by eating the highest fiber foods first, then protein, fat, and starches last. But please dont rip apart your sandwich and eat it piece by piece. These rules are supposed to enhance your life, not make it more complicated. Prioritizing a plate of high-fiber vegetables, like a salad, before every meal is a simple way to implement this healthy hack.
If you eat the items of a meal containing starch, fiber, sugar, protein, and fat in specific order, you reduce your overall glucose spike by 73 percent, as well as your insulin spike by 48 percent.
Jessie Inchauspé, Glucose Revolution
When To See A Doctor
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If you find yourself feeling dizzy without sugar, or having regular cravings, it’s time to call a professional, as it could indicate a deeper problem. If you are craving sweets chronically, Goodman says this may indicate that you have hypoglycemia, for instance.
Even if it’s a sign of a nutritional deficiency, a professional can help determine what you’re lacking, how much you need, and ensure the lack of the vitamin or nutrient doesn’t lead to further problems. Magnesium deficiency, for example, has been linked to everything from osteoporosis to type 2 diabetes to heart disease. . When our body doesnt have enough magnesium, it will have trouble bringing energy into the cells and thus, feel deprived and crave sugar, Fahad explains.
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Healthy Snacks To Curb Sweet Tooth
Its not a case of replacing sweet stuff with other snacks to curb a sweet tooth, or providing you with a list of what to eat to curb sweet cravings. Such lists simply dont address the psychological aspects of what causes sweet cravings and how to be rid of them forever. Even so called natural ways to curb sugar cravings are a folly. The cravings are fake and phony and are caused by the unnatural sweetness of refined sugar which manipulates our blood sugar levels and the negative mental process that manipulation instigates.
The real trick is to get in touch with your natural, instinctive, enjoyable sense of taste for what are your REAL favourite foods.