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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Donuts And Other Sweets Are Common Sources Of Added Sugar
If you usually have a hankering for something sweet after meals, find it hard to pass up dessert, or rely on sugar-filled coffee drinks for an afternoon pick-me-up, youre not alone. A study published in June 2017 in Appetite found that 86 percent of people who had food cravings thought about high-calorie foods specifically, those containing chocolate.
The good news: Reaching for healthy foods high in nutrients like protein and fiber can help stave off unhealthy hankerings.
Here are some of the foods that can help keep cravings for sugar at bay:
- Seeds, such as sesame and chia
- Pulses, such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas
Below, find a full list with the scientific reasons why they may be effective. Plus, learn more about what may be behind your sugar cravings in the first place.
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.
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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.
What Natural Supplements Or Concoctions Can I Use To Curb Sugar Cravings
Common ways people reduce their sugar cravings include consuming lemon water or apple cider vinegar both of these are on the sour side and can increase protein digestion. A detoxifying tea loaded with Superfood Turmeric is perfect for beating inflammation and reducing those cravings as well. As a protein source, supplementing with Collagen Peptides and Superfood Matcha can go a long way for curbing cravings as well!
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Calculate Or Adjust Your Daily Macros
Since a shortage of fat or protein when youre cutting carbs leads to sugar cravings, you must calculate your daily macros and stick to them.
Fat will keep you fueled up and ready to go like sugar used to.
And meeting your protein goals will help you lose weight and prevent blood sugar dips by increasing satiety and curbing your appetite.
You also cant forget about fiber just because youre giving carbs the cold shoulder.
Fiber is your best friend on keto because it:
- Lowers the net carbs in foods since its passed rather than digested
- Helps you feel full
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels so cravings stay at bay
- Prevents constipation
Figuring out your ideal keto macros can be more challenging than giving up your favorite carbs.
Thats why a tool like the Perfect Keto Macro Calculator is a game-changer. Try it out and make sure youre feeding your body right.
And that includes water.
If Youre Truly Hungry Eat A Healthy & Filling Meal
If you really are needing energy and calories, instead of snacking on a cookie, reach for a protein-packed snack like a hardboiled egg, celery and all-natural peanut butter, or an apple with some cheese.
Make sure youre not starving yourself of good nutrition throughout the day when youre eating a healthy balance of macronutrients, most cravings will naturally fall away.
Opting for protein and fat instead of added sugar will keep you satiated longer without the need to fill up on empty calories and sugar, and its much better for your blood sugars!
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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.
You Are Not Eating Enough
Whether you are cutting carbs to drastic levels or just not eating enough, being too restrictive on your diet may be what’s driving you to eat more sugar.
This is purely survival mechanisms at work. Under-eating can signal a request for more calorie dense foods that will supply additional energy and quick energy in order for you to support your daily needs . Since sugar is one of the fastest sources of glucose you can get, it would make sense that you crave it when calories are sparse.
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Give Into Your Craving Then Move On
“If a craving for something sweet like a piece of chocolate or a scoop of ice cream persists, just have it,” says Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, and author of 52-Week Meal Planner. “Trying to satisfy cravings with other ‘healthier’ foods or restricting yourself from having a food you’re craving often leads to overeating. As is often said, the forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest.” So, eat your piece of cake, don’t feel bad, and then move on.
The Dopamine And Sugar Connection
As previously mentioned, there are three separate and parallel pathways where sugar triggers a dopamine release and reinforces the seeking of sugar or glucose. Most drugs, or other dopamine-releasing behavior, only has one pathway this is why sugar addiction is so strong and difficult to overcome.
The dopamine pathways have a pleasure-pain balance, according to Dr. Anna Lembke. Because of this phenomenon, as you are eating something sweet and satisfying, and the dopamine levels increase, and when that experience comes to an end, the pain, frustration or lack response is triggered, making you want even more.
For instance, as you are enjoying a piece of chocolate and you are swallowing it, your neuro pathways start instantly craving more, because dopamine levels are being pushed back down. As a result, most people will reach for another piece of chocolate, and the dopamine hit is never as high as the fist one, so you are constantly striving to experience that first level of dopamine hit.
Furthermore, the longer you wait to indulge in that experience again, the greater the level of dopamine you will experience once again.
This is why if someone cuts out sugar, sweeteners, alcohol, or anything that triggers a dopamine response, it resets their enjoyment of that item back to near their original level.
As a result, you are in a very wobbly and precarious state of balancing the pleasure and pain see-saw.
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An Imbalance In Blood Sugar
Another reason to crave sugar is if you have reduced glucose levels in the blood.
Sugar in the form of glucose acts as fuel for different cell functions. When the glucose supply is insufficient, the body will send hunger and sugar cravings as a signal to provide it a quick sugar boost.
This is especially common if your diet is full of processed foods and lacks fiber. Fiber controls the release of sugar, while processed foods will cause an immediate spike and fall in sugar, again causing you to crave sugar.
Spices When Recipes Call For Sugar
It may seem hard to cut back on your sugar when baking but you can use spices instead to add natural sweetness. “I’ll often add unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, or vanilla extract to my recipesand often find that this is sweetness enough, or that I can reduce the sugar by up to 25 percent or so,” says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN. “You can also do this with yogurtbuy plain Greek yogurt and sweeten it with cinnamon or unsweetened cocoa powder, instead of buying a sugarier pre-sweetened version.”
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How To Stop Bad Food Cravings
Naturally, if we want to start getting healthy, we first have to learn how to stop bad food cravings.
SugarI need sugar.
No salt.I need salt.
As I am sure you all know, food cravings are a bitch . You can ignore them, try to occupy yourself with something else, have a nap, but they just hover there in your sub-conscience and then pounce again at your first sign of weakness. Believe me, I know of what I speak.
In case you were born in a cave, I will explain.
Food cravings are intense desires for specific foods or food groups. Everyone experiences them differently but they come and go when least expected and defy you to control them. They lead people to eat foods that have adverse health effects, and they can crash a healthy diet quicker than the blink of an eye.
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Sugar Is More Addictive Than Hard Drugs
First of all, sugar is habit-forming and addictive.
This statement may sound obvious, but whats not so obvious is just how addictive sugar really is.
Recent studies have demonstrated that addiction to sugar works through endogenous opioid reward systems in your brain.
Not only that, unlike most addictive drugs that dont touch your taste buds, eating sugar also interacts with hunger hormones and disrupts your bodys ability to maintain a healthy weight.
This excerpt from a 2013 paper published in the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition& Metabolic Care drives home the fascinating reasons that sugar is so addictive:
Available evidence in humans shows that sugar and sweetness can induce reward and craving that are comparable in magnitude to those induced by addictive drugsOverall, this research has revealed that sugar and sweet reward can not only substitute to addictive drugs, like cocaine, but can even be more rewarding and attractive. At the neurobiological level, the neural substrates of sugar and sweet reward appear to be more robust than those of cocaine, possibly reflecting past selective evolutionary pressures for seeking and taking foods high in sugar and calories
Additionally, most artificial sweeteners do the same thing. In other words, replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners is a bad idea if you want to stop your sugar cravings!
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The Relationship Between Food Cravings And Vitamin Deficiencies
Sometimes yearning for certain foods is a good indication that you have a lack of vitamins in your system. This is just our miraculous body trying to get it through our heads that something is missing.
When your sweet tooth rears its head only in the winter it is probably telling you that your Vitamin D is low due to less sun exposure. Drink fortified milk and orange juice. Eat salmon, tuna, and egg yolks. If necessary take a Vitamin D supplement.
If you crave salty foods it could be due to a calcium deficiency. This paired with lethargy, brittle fingernails, and difficulty swallowing pretty much seals it. Eat more leafy greens, seeds, beans, and natural dairy products.
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Just Run Away From Your Cravings
For this trick, you can accomplish two healthful things at once: Calm the craving and get in a workout. A study published in PLOS One showed that short bouts of physical activity reduced cravings for sugary snacks among overweight individuals. I also see clients reap a mental benefit here. When youre proactive about doing something good for you, the not-good-for-you something suddenly becomes less appealing.
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Can You Make Your Life Sweeter
If sugar feels like a reward to you, try replacing it with a different treat that makes you happy. A walk with someone you love, a trip to the movies, an excellent new book, or a bouquet of flowers for your bedside can lift your spirits and make you smile.
And dont rule out the bump in serotonin and beta-endorphins you get from exercise, a well-balanced meal, work that makes a difference, even a sunny day. When you experience joy and fun, they spell happiness to your body so you dont need to fill yourself up with sugar.
Letting go of sugar is stressful but the benefits you feel will keep you moving forward. Go for progress not perfection!
1 Rouch, C., et al. 2003. Extracellular hypothalamic serotonin and plasma amino acids in response to sequential carbohydrate and protein meals. Nutr. Neurosci., 6 , 117-124. URL : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12722987 .
Wurtman, R., & Wurtman, J. 1995. Brain serotonin, carbohydrate-craving, obesity and depression. Obes. Res., 3 , 477S-480S. URL : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8697046 .
2 DesMaisons, K. 2008.Potatoes Not Prozac: Solutions for Sugar Sensitivity NY: Simon & Schuster.
3 DesMaisons, K. 2008. p. 145.
4 DesMaisons, K. 2008. p. 75.
5 DesMaisons, K. 2008. p. 145.
6 DesMaisons, K. 2008. p. 185.
7 DesMaisons, K. 2008. p 84.
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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Keep Meals Regularly Scheduled
“Have regularly scheduled meals. The worst thing you can do is let yourself get so hungry that you lose all control over your next food choice,” Alpert says. “Having meals or snacks every four hours helps to stabilize your blood sugar levels, keep you satisfied and in control until your next meal.” Losing control during a craving is one of the top reasons people give into them.
Enjoy A Piece Of Fruit
“I don’t know if it’s possible to eradicate sugar cravings because they’re part of being human. But I do think that nature gave us fruit for a reason,” Largeman-Roth says. “It’s naturally sweet and loaded with fiber to help us feel full. It also delivers a host of benefits, including antioxidants that help our bodies and skin stay young and healthy.” Training your body to crave fruit instead of processed sugar will be greatly beneficial to your overall health.
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Add In Protein To Every Meal
When you eat a heavy, starchy meal, like a giant bowl of spaghetti, youre pretty much setting yourself up for a guaranteed gelato craving. All that pasta with no fiber or protein is like a big bowl of sugar.
Those calories are absorbed fast and they do not keep you feeling full or satisfied. Whats a pasta lover to do? Try a big bowl of veggies, with lean protein added and topped off with a little pasta versus the other way around. This applies to salads, too load up on the veggies first, then add a protein or carb on top.