How to Reduce Sugar Cravings
There are a handful of super humans on the planet who don’t crave sugar. If you’re not one of them, read on! Because most people DO crave sugar, and it’s a surprisingly difficult thing to overcome.
A high-sugar diet has been associated with many health conditions, from diabetes to heart disease and beyond. Reducing sugar from your diet will not only help you create a healthier lifestyle but can also help you shed the extra pounds you’ve packed on during the holiday season. Read below for more information about sugar cravings and how you can reduce them.
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What is a Sugar Craving?
Most people can recognize when they’re having a sugar craving. You might be sitting there and all of a sudden you want to roll around in a pool of chocolate.
When you feel that strong urge to eat sweets it can be extremely difficult to control yourself around food. As common as sugar cravings are many people don’t know exactly what a sugar craving is and what causes them.
What Causes a Sugar Craving?
There are both biological and psychological factors at play when you get a craving for something sweet. The brain plays a key role in the positive sensation you get while eating sugary foods and how you form bad habits such as eating dessert after dinner or eating a sweet snack after work. Your brain challenges your willpower to cut out sugary foods.
But your diet can also trigger you to crave sugar depending on the foods you’re consuming or not consuming enough of; this is a biological factor. Other biological factors include poor sleep habits, mental health issues such as stress and depression, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
In the ancient times, it wasn’t easy to get food. It is presumed that when food is around, our ancient ancestors ate as much as they could get. So it’s natural and built unto us that when there’s food, especially very tasty food, we just want to eat it as much as we can.
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Reducing the Cravings
If you want to reduce your sugar cravings you must work on both the biological and psychological factors. There are many ways you can curb your cravings, but we have found the following 5 tips to be very effective.
1. Clean Out Your Pantry
This will help you reduce sugar cravings through both biological and psychological factors. When you see certain sweet foods, your brain associates them with the dopamine that has been released every time you’ve eaten that food in the past and all of a sudden, you’re craving it.
Removing these sugary snacks from your cupboard will help you remove that trigger that is telling you, “Eat the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, it will feel great!”
Clearing out the sugary foods from your home also helps with biological factors because you’ll have to replace the food with healthier foods.
Healthy foods like fruits and vegetables help you get better sleep, can help with stress, avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies and don’t cause as many cravings. Start spring cleaning now and remove all processed sugar from your home.
2. Eat More Protein & Fiber
While replenishing your cupboards with new food you should add foods that are high in protein and fiber. Diets that include protein and fiber help reduce hunger and sugar cravings.
In their own ways, both protein and dietary fibers help you to feel full faster and keep a steady blood sugar level which will help you prevent sugar withdrawal symptoms. To add more fiber to your diet you should eat the following healthy high-fiber foods:
To add more protein to your diet you should eat the following healthy high-protein foods:
- Grass-fed Beef
- Wild Fish
- Black Beans
- Organic Chicken
- Greek Yogurt
- Cottage Cheese
- Peanut Butter
High-protein snacks such as protein bars and protein shakes are also great to eat in between meals such when the sugar cravings normally strike.
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3. Satisfy Your Cravings Without Processed Sugar
There are foods you can add to your diet that taste sweet but aren’t made with the processed sugar you are trying to avoid. To sweeten your food and drinks you should use stevia, a natural, no-calorie sweetener, that doesn’t have the negative health effects of sugar. You should also try the following healthy foods that don’t have processed sugar to satisfy sugar cravings:
- Dark Chocolate (not milk chocolate)
- Sugar Free Mints or Gum
- Sugar Free Yogurt
- Sweet Potatoes
- Fermented Foods
- Protein Bars
Remember, it’s all about the ingredients in the food you consume. Always check the ingredient list to make sure you’re eating healthy sugar alternatives. This will help your brain associate new healthier foods with your cravings so that one day you will crave strawberries instead of Sour Patch Kids.
4. Stay Hydrated
Hydration might seem unrelated to sugar cravings, but our bodies often confuse thirst with hunger. Next time you feel the deep urge to consume an entire box of chocolates grab a glass of water. Drink the entire cup and wait 30 minutes to see if the craving is curbed.
- Drink other healthy fluids such as milk, tea and juice.
- Make a smoothie (hint: this also helps with sugar cravings).
- Eat more vegetables and salads. Most lettuce greens contain at least 94 percent water, and that’s before you add any other vegetables.
- Make a broth-based soup with vegetables.
5. Develop a Meditation and Mindfulness Habit
Don’t worry, you don’t have to become a Buddhist monk to develop a practice of mindfulness and meditation. It doesn’t have to be hours a day. Just a simple 5-10 minute meditation practice, along with an effort to become a more mindful eater, can make a dramatic difference in your ability to conquer sugar cravings.
Dr. Brewer has found that following a simple meditative practice reduces cravings by 40%.
There are several great apps that help with this, try Insight Timer, Eat Right Now (Dr. Brewers program), Headspace, or Waking Up.
If all you do is try to eat all your food, including sugary foods, very slowly and mindfully you will find that you are less likely to binge, and more likely to choose healthy foods.
If you follow these steps, you will begin to reduce your sugar cravings and create an all-around healthier diet.
Press on and continue to follow the 5 tips from above to create a healthier and happier lifestyle in 2020. We believe in you and know you will conquer your New Year’s Resolutions!
How Food Addiction Works:
https://goeatrightnow.com/science/ https://draxe.com/nutrition/sugar-withdrawal/ https://www.thorne.com/take-5-daily/article/the-science-behind-sugar-cravings