The urge to have “just a little bit of sweet” when you are hungry or when you are full may indicate that you have a craving for sugar. If you aren’t prepared for the sugar cravings that little something sweet will turn into a big piece of pie, a bowl of ice cream or a couple of candy bars. Eating lots of carbohydrates — without the combination of proteins or fats — may quickly satisfy your appetite and give your body a short-term energy boost, but they quickly leave you famished again and craving more. Sugar has very high calories, no nutritional value and when it is used in sweets and desserts the calories can add up much faster. These extra calories mean extra weight gain and obesity.
What causes sugar cravings?
There are many reasons why we tempt for sweet things.
Carbohydrates stimulate the release of brain chemical serotonin which makes you feel-good. Sugar is a carbohydrate but carbohydrates come in other forms, too, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
The taste of sugar is also responsible to release endorphins that calm and relax you. Enjoying sweet occasionally won’t have a negative effect on you, as long as you are in a healthy state. The recommended intake of sugar should be about 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men
Eating very fast and a limited range of uninteresting foods tend to develop food addictions. If you relish your each meal, feel fully satisfied and stop eating just before feeling full, you are less likely to develop sugar addictions. Make sure you have a mix of sweet, sour, hot, cold, bitter, salty, and spicy taste sensations in our plate. Sugar cravings are almost a form of compensation for an uninteresting plate. The lack of balance may push you to develop sugar cravings. Hence, balance is key when it comes to taste sensations we get from our foods..
Hormonal changes are also responsible for cravings. Many women complaint of suffering from sugar cravings when they are in pre-menstrual stage. Your emotional state also plays a vital role in your sugar cravings. Some people, when angry or under stress, find them relaxed with an entire block of chocolate, half a cake and a whole pack of sweet biscuits.
How to stop sugar cravings: 12 tips to use right now
If you’re craving sugar, here are some ways to get rid of those cravings.
1. Give in a little – You can have a bit of whatever sweet food you are craving for, may be cookie or a candy bar. Enjoying a little of what you love can help you steer clear of feeling denied. Try to stick to a 150-calorie at the starting point.
2. Combine foods – You can also fill yourself up and satisfy a sugar craving by combining the craving food with a healthy one. Sometimes you can dip a banana in chocolate sauce and that gives you what you are craving, or mix some almonds with chocolate chips.
3. Go cold turkeys – Cutting out all forms of sugar works for many people. Some people find that going cold turkey helps their cravings vanished after a few days; while others find they may still crave sugar but over time they are able to train their taste buds.
4. Grab some gum – Research has shown that chewing gum can also help to reduce food carvings. Hence, if you want to avoid giving in to a sugar craving, try on chewing some gum.
5. Reach for fruit – Keep fruit handy with you when sugar cravings hit. Foods like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits are the best substitute for sugar craving.
6. Get up and go – If you are experiencing a sweet craving, walk away to change the scenery and to take your mind off from the food you’re craving.
7. Choose quality over quantity – If you just want to have a sugary sweet, then choose something but in moderate quantity. For instance, have a chocolate truffle instead of a large candy bar.
8. Eat regularly – Gaping too long between meals may insist you to choose sugary, fatty foods to cut your hunger. Instead, it is advisable you eat every three to five hours to keep blood sugar stable and avoid irrational eating behavior.
9. Eat a filling breakfast – Just avoid skipping breakfast. Most people start their day with an empty stomach and end up on sweet foods in order to compensate for the energy lack. If you would eat a healthy breakfast, your body will not crave for instant energy in the middle of the day. Oats, whole grain bread, omelet, smoked or broiled poultry, cooked vegetables with brown rice, fruit salad – are some examples of a healthy breakfast.
10. Stop sugar cravings in-between meals – To prevent cravings, simply have a snack between your three main meals. Look for some fruits, nuts or yogurt.
11. Brush your teeth – Brushing your teeth at the end of the meal can readily stop sugar cravings. The toothpaste leaves a fresh minty flavor in your mouth and this makes you less likely to reach for something sweet.
12. Drink some water – Often, thirst is mistaken for hunger. We confuse the body’s messages. Tune in to your body’s cues and get a big glass of water instead of starting on that bar of chocolate.
How to stop sugar cravings: 5 tips for the Long Term
One of the best ways to manage sugar cravings is to stop them before they start. To help you do that:
1. Skip artificial sweeteners – Artificial sweeteners don’t lessen cravings for sugar and will not show any positive effect on your body.
2. Reward yourself – It is suggested that you reward yourself when you manage a sugar craving successfully. Your reward could be large or small bite of a sugar candy.
3. Slow down – For one week, focus on your sugar cravings and think about what you’re eating. Dieting often results unsuccessful because of lack of planning. So plan and eat what you intend to eat, instead of eating when you’re desperate.
4. Get support – Many people turn to sweet foods when they are stressed, depressed, or angry. But food doesn’t solve emotional issues. Consider whether emotions are involved in your sugar cravings and whether you need help to find other solutions to those emotional problems.
5. Mix it up – You may need more than one strategy to avoid sugar cravings. One week you may find success with one tactic, and another week calls for an alternative approach. So be patient and don’t give up.
Healthier ideas for short term sugar cravings
1. Get some exercise. You may feel better if you go for a walk or get involve in some other type of exercise. Exercise will stimulate brain chemicals that will improve your mood.
2. Sugar cravings may lessen if you decrease the number of calories you eat each day.
3. Avoid keeping high calorie sweets in the house.
4. Don’t skip meals, this can make cravings worse.
5. Keep your meals simple. The more side dishes and flavors you include in your meals, the more likely you are to overeat.
6. Choose healthy side dishes with a sweet taste. Fruits and some vegetables are naturally sweet and offer vitamins, and mineral.
Reducing your refined sugar consumption can tremendously boost your health and get you closer to that ideal body weight, and shape, you’ve been dreaming of. Getting a little disciplined with your eating habits and choosing wisely can go a long way in ensuring that you don’t invite diseases like diabetes. Remember, it is not just about dealing with your sugar cravings but more about eating right and ensuring your body gets wholesome fuel for its functioning. La
stly, go easy on yourself. It may take time to get a handle on your sugar cravings. “It’s difficult to shift any system — whether it’s the world economy or your eating.”