How To Get Rid of Sugar Cravings?
Sugar is a carbohydrate, but carbohydrates come in other forms, too, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which have fiber and nutrients your body needs.
Sweet is the first taste humans prefer from birth. Carbohydrates stimulate the release of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. The taste of sugar also releases endorphins that calm and relax us, and offer a natural “high”.
Sweets just taste good, too. And that preference gets reinforced when you reward yourself with sweet treats, which can make you crave it even more. With all that going for it, why wouldn’t we crave sugar?
The problem comes not when we indulge in a sweet treat now and then, but when we overdo it. That’s easy to do when sugar is added to many processed foods, including breads, yogurt, juices, and sauces.
Is All Sugar Created Equal?
As you could have guessed, not all sugar is created equal. This is because the simplicity of the structure of a sugar molecule determines how quickly it is broken down. Sugar is metabolized at different rates and we feel very different if we break it down too quickly.
What happens when we eat a big bowl of white pasta? We feel extremely full at first and then exhausted because our body is trying to utilize the sugar in the bloodstream and turn it into fuel.
Have you ever felt exhausted from eating an apple? Probably not.
How to Stop Sugar Cravings:
If you’re craving sugar, here are some ways to tame those cravings.
- Give in a little.Eat a bit of what you’re craving, maybe a small cookie or a fun-size candy bar. Enjoying a little of what you love can help you steer clear of feeling denied. Try to stick to a 150-calorie threshold.
- Combine foods. If the idea of stopping at a cookie or a baby candy bar seems impossible, you can still fill yourself up and satisfy a sugar craving, too. “I like combining the craving food with a healthful one,”. “I love chocolate, for example, so sometimes I’ll dip a banana in chocolate sauce and that gives me what I’m craving, or I mix some almonds with chocolate chips.” You’ll soothe your craving and get healthy nutrients from those good-for-you foods.
- Reach for fruit.Keep fruit handy for when sugar cravings hit. You’ll get fiber and nutrients along with some sweetness. And stock up on foods like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.
- Choose quality over quantity.“If you need a sugar splurge, pick a wonderful, decadent sugary food,”. But keep it small. For example, choose a small dark chocolate instead of a king-sized candy bar, then “savor every bite — slowly,”. Learn to incorporate small amounts in the diet but concentrate on filling your stomach with less sugary and [healthier] options.”
- Pair natural sugar with protein and heart healthy fat.If you’re going to have an apple, cut it up with some heart healthy fat like peanut butter. This slows the breakdown of sugar and keeps you satisfied longer.
- Hold-off for 15-20 minuteswhen sugar cravings hit – They come on suddenly, they’re very overwhelming and typically short lived. Distract yourself. If you must consume something, drink water but get out of the kitchen. Ask yourself am “I really hungry or am I just craving sweets?
- Reward yourselffor successfully managing sugar cravings. Your reward could be large or small. Remember why you’re working on it and then reward yourself for each successful step.
- Think about your drink. Sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to the greatest source of added sugars in the diet and are completely empty calories. The body doesn’t seem to recognize calories very well when they’re delivered in liquids; you don’t feel as full.
It can be tricky to tell whether or not you are making progress or getting worse, because everyone has different symptoms. The good news is, we can help!
Kanupriya Khanna, a Senior Consultant Nutritionist, Dietitian with over 18 years of experience in nutrition, can provide expert advice. She is regarded as one of the best dietitians in Delhi because of her unwavering commitment to making a difference in people’s lives by instilling good eating habits and lifestyles.