Practical Tools To Saying No To Sugar
When I made the decision to try to get my health back after years of battling the effects of fibromyalgia, Epstein Barr virus, and Guillan Barre Syndrome, I turned to a low-carb keto diet.
In my case, I started my journey to saying no to sugar by saying yes to a diet that was higher in healthy fats. Something very interesting happened when I made the switch from low-fat to low carb. All of a sudden my sugar cravings began to diminish.
The more I learned how to give my brain what it needed in the form of healthy fats, the easier it was to pass up the high carb foods that I would have otherwise never been able to say no to.
Make Sure Youre Getting Enough Calories
Sounds like a joke, right? But often when were dieting, we restrict too much and end up with cravings. When you dont eat enough, or you eat the wrong things, your body starts looking for fuel fast, as a way to catch up. So what does it do? Crave sugar! Sugar gives you quick energy, even though its not quality energy.
The only way to get around this is to eat whole foods, and break the sugar cravings cycle once and for all.
Make Sleep A Priority
Getting enough sleep is a vital key to success for good health. Not only will it help you stop your sugar cravings, but it will also keep you energized throughout the day.
Set a regular bedtime and decrease the number of distractions in your bedroom. Try moving your TV out of the bedroom and charging your phone in another room.
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How To Stop Sugar Cravings: 8 Tips To Use Right Now
If you’re craving sugar, here are some ways to tame those cravings.
But won’t eating more often mean overeating? Not if you follow Neville’s advice to break up your meals. For instance, have part of your breakfast — a slice of toast with peanut butter, perhaps — and save some yogurt for a mid-morning snack. “Break up lunch the same way to help avoid a mid-afternoon slump,” Neville says.
How To Help Curb Sugar Cravings
Sweet treats can be part of a balanced diet when enjoyed in moderation. But what happens when moderation turns into frequent sugar cravings? The truth is almost everyone gets sugar cravings, so the question becomes how to manage them.
The good news is that researchers have studied sugar cravings and their findings may help you get some relief. Learn why you have these cravings so you can learn how to curb them.
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Sugar Cravings: What Do They Mean And How To Stop Them
Sugar cravings are so hard to control.Just one look at the soft crumbly sponge and the luscious folds of whipped buttercream is enough to trigger them for most of us. Before you know it, youve inhaled the entire slice. So what is it about that piece of cake that we find so hard to resist? According to the experts there are a number of things at play.
If youve nibbled on a candy bar this morning, tucked into sweet treats at the office or added a teaspoon of sugar to your coffee, youll know that the white stuff has become a staple of our modern diets. We can all do with limiting our sugar intakeit could even help us lose a stone in a monthbut sometimes knowing how to stop eating chocolate or picking at the candy is easier said than done.
Enjoying sugary foods is perfectly normal. Back in a time when food was scarce, high-calorie food was both rewarding for our taste buds and for our survival. Although were no longer hunting for our next meal, sweet food still acts on our rewards systems in our brains, and for a lot of us it has a positive effect on our moodsat least for a little while! But why do we need that sweet hit? Scientists have revealed tiredness, hormones and even the sunshine could be the reason why these sugar cravings emerge.
What Are Some Other Ways Alcohol Can Cause Sugar Cravings To Increase
Sugar cravings can also increase after binge drinking episodes. When high amounts of alcohol are consumed at once, it can interfere with the normal processing of glucose in the body which can lead to low blood sugar levels. According to the CDC, one in six U.S. adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about seven drinks per binge. Anecdotally, it is common for individuals to consume more alcohol than normal before embarking on a month of sobriety, however, the extra cocktails may set you up for a rough ride of cravings.
If you feel like sugar hankerings during periods of alcohol abstinence are all in your head, you may be right. Alcohol consumption lights up the pleasure center of the brain and releases dopamine, the reward neurotransmitter. When the signal for dopamine release is removed , you will likely look for something else to take its place and that placeholder can be sugar. Sugary foods, or foods that break down into sugar quickly, likely produce the same effect as alcohol, so after a long, stressful day, it makes sense that you might crave a cupcake if your glass of wine is no longer an option.
The good news is that you do not have to white-knuckle your sweet desires and rely solely on willpower. Here are five, sweet swaps you can make that will keep your overall sugar intake low while still satisfying cravings. For additional tips, be sure to check out 9 Best Low Sugar Ice Creams, According to Dietitians.
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Why Do You Crave Sugar If Its Bad For You
Sugar is addictive. Studies have shown that sugar has the same effect on the body that drugs do. When animals were given the choice between sugar and drugs they chose sugar and animals already addicted to drugs switched to sugar. At the root of the problem is food processing.
Sugar cane in its raw form has fiber and nutrients, but modern day food processing strips sugar cane of its essential nutrients so by the time it hits the shelf for you to buy, its a frankenstein food. Certain types of sugar like high fructose corn syrup suppress hormones leptin and ghrelin. These hormones send signals to your brain telling you when your fat cells are full and to stop eating.
HFCS has been linked to obesity and has been shown scientifically to metabolize the same way as alcohol. This is why you can drink soda and eat candy all day and never feel full, but get fat. Other reasons such as lack of sleep, stress and hormone imbalances cause intense sugar cravings as a result of leptin and insulin being out of balance. Read this post for more info on this.
Stress Loneliness And Depression
Researchers say cravings for sweets happen most when youre either happy or want to be in a better mood.
Thanks to all those feel-good neurochemicals and hormones from sugar, that pint of ice cream may be a form of self-medicating when youre sad, worried, stressed, or lonely.
So being unhappy or anxious may cause you to crave and stress eat carby comfort foods.
But you dont have to give in to your cravings for sugar to feel good.
You can overcome them and feel triumphant.
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What To Eat When Craving Sweets
When your sweet tooth can’t be contained, try eating naturally sweet foods to curb your cravings, De Santis said. Fruit, frozen fruit and smoothies are a few good options, or “foods that may be sweetened but are also nutrient dense,” such as sweetened Greek yogurt, he added.
Powell agreed, and recommended the following sweet, nutrient-dense snack options:
Frozen banana slices dipped in dark chocolate
Frozen strawberries dipped in yogurt
Chia seed pudding topped with honey and berries
Homemade apple cinnamon oat muffins
Baked pears topped with walnuts and maple syrup
Grilled peaches with yogurt
View Snacks As Another Opportunity To Incorporate Vegetables And Fruit
This is the simplest and most effective strategy to improve snacking. We are conditioned to relate snacking to snack foods so rather than reaching for a sweet potato, fruit, or a cup of vegetable soup, we look to packages to satisfy our snacking needs. Try to keep only one healthier snack cracker or air popped popcorn kernels in your house at a time. When thinking about snacks, first reach for a piece of fruit or a vegetable . Then, if you need more substance, pair it with another whole-food source of protein or fat.
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What Foods Lead To Sugar Cravings
You may be surprised by this, but there are quite a lot of foods that secretly contribute to your sugar craving. Eating too many artificial sweeteners, for example, conditions our taste buds to crave sweet foods. Eating too many natural foods with added sugars works sneakily too. There are so many names for sugar, so natural sources like raw honey or maple syrup may sound harmless, but in the end theyre all converted into glucose. Finally, low-fat and fat-free foods should be treated with caution. They tend to be processed and loaded with sugar to make up for taste, so always be sure to read labels before jumping in!
Craving Sugar Your Body Is Probably Lacking This Nutrient
In This Article
Like most people who think about food constantly, I take snacking very seriously. Growing up, Id gravitate toward salty and crunchythe crisp bite of a Lays potato chip or whatever those disturbingly orange, peanut butterfilled biscuits were. Lately, however, Ive noticed my salt tooth taking a decidedly sweeter turn, and its baffled me to no end. Suddenly Im craving chocolate, doughnuts, candy, those green Haribo frog gummies that are inexplicably peach-flavored The list goes on. Surely this must mean something about the inner workings of my body.
This cant be a good thing, right? According to research, sugar is said to be as addictive as some street drugs, with similar effects on the brain. Excess sugar consumption may also lead to cavities, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a slew of other health problems. Knowing all of this, I was determined to stop eating sugarbut each day, Id get tempted by a new sweet delicacy and thus, fall off the wagon . Why cant I quit something thats so clearly bad for my health, my brain, and my body? All around me, my fellow sugar worshippers bemoan the same question, all while stuffing more chewy morsels of Momofuku birthday cake into their mouths. I was determined to get to the root of the issue, and consulted two top nutritionists to help me find out what my sugar cravings mean, and hopefully, quell them.
Meet the Expert
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Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Experts say you should get between seven and nine hours of quality, restorative sleep each night. Luckily, going keto changes your sleep for the better so this should be easy.
Suddenly battling insomnia? Read this guide about why you have keto insomnia and how to get rid of it later.
Better sleep is just as important in the war on sugar cravings as the right macros.
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.
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Why We Crave Sugar
If you crave sugary foods, you’re not alone. Studies estimate that up to 90% of the adult population may experience food cravings. These cravings are often for sugary foods.
Scientists have long believed that cravings for carbohydrates and other sugary foods are driven by a desire to improve mood due to the fact that consuming sweet treats increases serotonin levels in your brain.
Serotonin, also known as a feel-good hormone, is a brain neurotransmitter that boosts your sense of well-being.
Although serotonin may be the cause of your food cravings, there are a variety of other potential causes that can also play a factor:
When To See A Doctor
If you find yoruself 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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A Word Of Caution About Sugar Substitutes
You can choose to use sugar substitutes to ease sugar cravings. However, if you have a strong sugar addiction sometimes too many of these sugar substitutes can cause you to crave the real thing.
Everyone is different and learning your personal triggers is vital. I know that for me this is sometimes the case. This is not easy since I share my low carb/ keto recipes on this blog and many are substitutes for high carb treats that I may be missing.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
The key for me has been in seeing even my low-carb desserts as an occasional treat. I also use sugar substitutes that will not cause an insulin spike. Whats more, I will make it a point to either freeze the leftovers or to share them with others.
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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.
Sugar Craving Cause: You Chowed Down On Salty Foods
When you dine out or eat highly packaged, processed foods, your food has more sodium in it than you probably even realize. This usually remains true even when youre eating something healthy such as grilled salmon and sautéed or steamed spinach from your fave healthy restaurant. Heres the kicker: oftentimes, the saltier your food, the bigger your sweet craving.
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Lemon Water Or Apple Cider Vinegar
Both are somewhat sour tasting, which help to curb the sugar cravings. They also increase protein digestion by increasing the acid in your stomach.
Add some wholesome ingredients and make this detoxifying Two Ingredient Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tea Adding turmeric and ginger adds even more nutrition with antioxidants and can help keep away the sugar cravings. Plus the turmeric and adaptogenic herbs help to boost your immunity and beat inflammation.
Ditch The Salt Shaker
When you dine out or eat packaged, processed foods, you’re probably consuming too much sodium. This is often true even when youre eating something clean like grilled salmon and sautéed spinach from your favorite healthy restaurant.
Toss the shaker. When you satisfy your salty cravings with more naturally salty foods such as olives, your sweet cravings will lessen, and youll tend to go for naturally sweet snacks like herbal tea or fruit when that craving comes on. Choosing clean foods leads to choosing more clean foods, no matter what the craving.
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