How to stop sugar cravings?Best tips and life hacks.
Why do we crave sugar?
Many sugar cravings stem from a blood sugar imbalance. When your body ingests sugar, your blood sugar spikes and your body releases insulin to lower it to a safer level. If the insulin brings your blood sugar level a bit too low, as often happens, your body craves foods that will raise it and increase your energy. You’re on a blood sugar roller coaster, and it’s hard to get off it. The key to balancing blood sugar is to eat foods that prevent too much insulin from being released, such as protein and healthy fats, and consuming only small amounts of sugar (if any). It’s also important to eat regular meals and snacks, because blood sugar drops when you skip a meal.
Cover the essential nutrients
Protein and fat are crucial to kicking a sugar habit. Unlike sugar, healthy fats and protein provide slow and steady forms of energy, more like a flat, newly paved road rather than that glucose-flavored roller coaster. When your body doesn’t find sugar for fuel, it turns to fats, so eating plenty of healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil can help your body adjust to getting its energy elsewhere. Protein helps you feel satiated, which can reduce hunger and cravings, and many of the amino acids in protein help build the brain chemicals — such as dopamine — that make us feel good. When we feel balanced and energized, we are less likely to seek a sugar high.
Here are some tricks to help you successfully kick the sugar habit:
- Start with a solid breakfast. The less sugar you eat in the morning, the more balanced you will be all day. High-protein breakfasts have been proven to reduce cravings.
- Drink water : Dehydration can make you feel hungry, so drink plenty of water. Add lemon, berries or other fruit to your water to make it more flavorful.
- Take a walk : When you crave sweets, wait 10 minutes and change your environment. Take a walk, or get into a project. Perhaps you can distract yourself out of at least one sugar fix.
- Trick your body by eating something sour when you want something sweet. The sour flavor can stimulate the taste buds and distract you from the sugar craving.
- Ginger and turmeric help prevent insulin resistance, so don’t be afraid to consume them freely, in turmeric lattes or ginger-infused smoothies, as you work to balance your blood sugar.
- Eat a piece of fruit. Having a piece of fruit may help satisfy sugar cravings for some people. Bananas, apples, oranges work great. Berries taste sweet, but they are high in fiber and low in sugar. Regularly eating berries may also help reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Dates are very sweet, so they can fix your craving for sugar while providing you other beneficial nutrients too.
- Include protein in all of your meals and snacks to help you feel satisfied after eating and stabilize your blood-sugar levels. Each meal should also include a little healthy fat to nourish your body with the essential fatty acids it needs to work at its best. Splash a tablespoon of olive oil into a green salad, or spread a quarter of an avocado onto your sandwich.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners. If you feel that artificial sweeteners trigger cravings for you, you might want to avoid them.
- Swap regular chocolate out for a few squares of dark chocolate, which contains less sugar and higher levels of healthy polyphenols.
- Sleep well. Getting proper, refreshing sleep is important for overall health and may help prevent cravings.
- Avoid certain triggers. Try to avoid specific activities or places that give you cravings, such as walking past McDonald’s.
- Don’t starve yourself. Try to prevent yourself from becoming too hungry between meal
- Chewing sugar-free gum can provide you with a sweet taste that may help curb your cravings and control your food intake.
- Eat Legumes : Legumes like lentils, beans and chickpeas are good sources of protein and fiber. Including them in your diet could help curb hunger, leaving you less likely to get a craving.
- Sprinkle nuts and seeds into meals such as breakfasts, salads and stir-fried-vegetable dishes. Nuts and seeds provide protein, ‘good’ fats and a wide range of vitamins and minerals, so they’re also perfect snack foods.
- Eat Complex carbs : Always include energy-boosting complex carbohydrates, and choose low-GI foods: Fibre-rich wholegrain breads and cereals (think oats, quinoa and buckwheat), and beans, chickpeas and lentils give you long-lasting energy. Steer clear of refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and sugar-rich cereals.
Develop Healthy New Habits
Many of us eat sweet foods out of habit or as a way of managing our emotions. This is more of a learned behaviour than anything else, but we often confuse it with a physical craving.
- Break the habit of ending your meal with something sweet by cleansing your palate with a refreshing brew, such as peppermint, licorice or ginger tea. You can then brush your teeth (if you’re at home or somewhere it’s practical to do so), which will confirm that you’ve finished eating for the night.
- Be mindful of what you’re eating — and why. Are you eating because you’re hungry, bored, tired or emotional? If so, you may be using food for the wrong reasons, and this is the problem you need to address. Keep a food diary for a few weeks to see why you’re reaching for sweet things. Once you’ve identified patterns in your behavior, you’ll be in the perfect position to make some changes.
Taste bud facts
You have anywhere from 2000 to roughly 10,000 taste buds.
The average lifespan of a taste bud is roughly two weeks.
Studies show that you can retrain your taste buds in about three weeks!
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