- The Science Behind Sugar Cravings
- Poor Health
- Bigger Appetite
- Changing Food Preferences
- Sugar Cravings: Why We Have Them & How to Stop Them
- Tips and Strategies to Help You Quit Sugar
- Sugar cravings: combating a sweet tooth
- The sour side of a sweet tooth
- Why do we crave sugar?
- Mind over matter
- Look elsewhere for your fix
- If you realise you are craving sweet food in relation to your inner world, try one or more of the following and see what’s helpful:
- Sugar cravings, as well as cravings for reward, solace and celebration, are natural. Remember it’s ok to use sugar to deal with life’s problems some of the time – most people do.
- Win the ‘inner battle’ with sugar
- What do sugar cravings mean?
- Why Am I Craving Sugar All of a Sudden and Remedies
- Why Do We Crave Sugar?
- Why Do We Crave Sugar Suddenly?
- Health Hazards of Sugar Craving
- How to Stop Sugar Craving Both in Diabetics and Non-Diabetics?
- What causes food cravings?
The Science Behind Sugar Cravings
Do you crave a sweet treat after every meal? Or at the same time every day? Sugar cravings are common and can often be explained by simple things, like the side effects from certain foods in your diet or a bad habit that has reprogrammed your brain.
But some sugar cravings can be a result of an underlying nutrient deficiency.
So next time you reach for a dessert after breakfast or candy from the jar on your colleague’s desk at work, stop and consider the psychological and biological reasons that are motivating your sweet tooth.
What’s happening in your brain
Several areas in your brain play a significant role in the crave sensation. The horseshoe-shaped hippocampus, located in your temporal lobe, is responsible for making short-term and long-term memories and plays a significant role in reward-seeking behavior.
The hippocampus enables you to remember the taste of dark chocolate versus milk chocolate.
In each hemisphere of your brain, there is a caudate nucleus, which influences reward-seeking behavior, but is also responsible for forming new habits – good and bad – like snacking the minute you walk through the door after work, without even noticing it. These habits are more like a conditioned response, meaning, even after a half day of work you have the urge to snack.
Habits formed by the caudate nucleus are hard, but not impossible, to break.
The insula, also in each hemisphere of the brain, produces emotions in response to a sensory experience. Excellent company marketing preys on the insula – think Coca-Cola. Coke’s 2018 summer campaign is “epic summer” – suggesting you need a cold, sugary soda pop to make memories that last a lifetime. The first taste, or even just the thought of giving into your craving, raises dopamine levels in your brain, providing you great pleasure with every sip.
Diet factors that can cause cravings
Although your brain can be a challenge to your willpower, there can be foods in your diet that trigger your longing for sugary foods. One dietary culprit is low protein intake. Because protein and fats slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream, when you don’t consume enough of them your blood sugar can rise and fall at an abnormal rate. The result? Your body craves quick energy from sugar.
A simple way to boost your protein intake is to supplement with a high-quality protein powder.* Thorne’s Whey Protein Isolate is a good start. It’s ideal for people who need additional protein in their diets – from world-class athletes to individuals managing their weight.* It provides 21 grams of protein per serving from an easily assimilated, non-denatured whey source. In addition, there’s VegaLite™, a vegan-friendly protein powder option.
It’s the same reason you can crave sugar on a high carbohydrate diet.
Simple carbohydrates enter the bloodstream fast, which quickly raises blood sugar, which subsequently raises insulin levels. Without fiber, protein, and fats in your food, simple carbohydrates alone will leave you neither full nor satisfied, and soon you’ll be wanting more.
Maybe not surprisingly, when cutting carbohydrates from your diet your body tends to crave the quick energy it’s accustomed to, so most of us experience a ravaging sugar craving the first few days on a low or no-carbohydrate diet.
Once your system learns to fuel itself without carbs, the craving dissipates.
Artificial sweeteners were invented to take the place of sugar for a lower-calorie option, but research suggests you will experience the same cravings, or even eat more food and total calories, when consuming this alternative, ultimately leaving you feeling guilty either way.
Bad habits promoting food cravings
Your sleep habits might be causing food cravings too. Research has shown that even one night of poor sleep can decrease the upper brain function of the cerebrum – the part of the brain responsible for complex judgments and decisions – resulting in next-day junk food cravings.
In a study that compared those who had a good quality night of sleep to those who didn’t, the poor sleepers craved junk foods totaling 600+ calories.
Why? Your internal clock plays a significant role in managing the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which promote and suppress food intake. Chronic abnormal sleep or sleep deprivation can be severely detrimental to your waistline when you give into those cravings.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, then it’s important to find out why. Thorne’s at-home sleep test can help because it measures your body’s hormones related to sleep and shows you what you can do about them.
Clinical issues you should check on
Stress affects your cortisol levels, a hormone that when elevated will alter your circulating levels of glucose and insulin. Stress affects hunger and cravings in people differently. but your body will quickly use its energy stores while in overdrive. Learn more about your body’s stress response by measuring the body’s key hormones related to stress. Thorne’s stress test measures these key biomarkers to let you know if you are managing your stress effectively or if you need to do more.
Depression or a bad mood can mentally and physically affect cravings too.
Sugar consumption increases serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, memory, and social behavior. Because sugar boosts serotonin, you feel happier, temporarily, so your brain craves this happy chemical again and again.
Mineral deficiencies might be another reason for your sweet tooth.
We used to think that if your body is craving a particular food or taste, then you must be deficient in it. While that’s not entirely wrong, like sometimes in the case of salty foods and a sodium deficiency, the craving for sweet, sugary foods might be explained by specific mineral imbalances in the body.
An iron deficiency will zap your energy, leaving you feeling fatigued and weak, and it can also be a reason for your cravings because your body will crave quick energy to perk itself up. Thorne’s Iron Bisglycinate can help fight fatigue and other symptoms of iron deficiency by providing an optimal way to supplement this very absorbable form of iron.*
Calcium, zinc, chromium, and magnesium imbalances can manifest themselves as sugar cravings too.
These crucial minerals help maintain hydration status, which, when you aren’t properly hydrated, can erroneously make you crave sugar when you might just be thirsty. Together, these minerals are involved in hundreds of processes in your body, from carbohydrate metabolism to producing and regulating the hormones and enzymes that control the way you think, move, and feel.*
Without sufficient consumption, absorption, and storage of these minerals, you might be experiencing abnormal reactions to the thought, sight, or smell of something sweet. Learn more about mineral supplementation to support nutrition and how to make the most of it.
What to do?
Consider these seven quick tips for success while you plan long-term behavior changes to minimize cravings:
- Test your cortisol and melatonin fluctuations with an at-home sleep test.
- Recognize bad habits. Have an alternative the moment you get a craving; it could be doing 10 jumping jacks or drinking a glass of water. Start a new healthy habit.
- Incorporate more proteins or fats into your diet. Avoid snacks/meals that are made up of all carbohydrates. And reduce artificial sweetener intake.
- Get sufficient, better quality, and consistent sleep. Be diligent about going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
- Seek serotonin from other sources. Try green tea, walnuts, eggs, cheese, or increasing your exercise routine to boost your serotonin level.
- Reach for foods or supplements that contain highly absorbable forms of magnesium, zinc, iron, and calcium.
- Try a chromium supplement. This mineral is often lacking in our modern diet, because refined flours and sugars are often stripped of chromium (in addition to other nutrients). A high-quality supplement, such as Thorne’s Chromium Picolinate, helps support healthy blood sugar levels and helps lessen carbohydrate cravings.*
There can be many reasons why one craves for sweets. Generally, people who eat a lot of carbohydrates like rice, bread, potato, bagels, muffins, pasta, soft drinks and desserts tend to have very high blood glucose levels. They get an urge to eat something sweet when their blood glucose level drops.
Pancreas is an organ in your body that releases the sugar-lowering hormone insulin when you eat something. This helps the excess glucose from the food to be used as energy or get stored in the body.
For people with diabetes, the body does not react to the insulin, the excess glucose remains in the blood and the blood glucose level rises. Since your body is not getting the required amount of energy, you start to feel lethargic. As a result, you begin craving sugar as your body starts to look at sugar as a quick source of energy.
Also, when using insulin and drugs to help lower blood glucose levels, your blood sugar level might drop below normal (i.e. below 70 mg per deciliter 70 mg/dl) which may cause cravings for sugar. This happens more frequently if you are sensitive towards these medicines.
In this case, along with a craving for sugar you might also experience:
• Increased sweating
It is important to avoid giving into sugar cravings as it can trap you in a vicious cycle. You can take the following steps to help your cravings:
• Chew your food properly, as chewing helps the food to get mixed with your saliva and thus improves digestion.
• Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Eating a lot of green vegetables can help to keep you feeling full for a longer time.
• Keep your blood sugar in check, as sugar cravings arise from fluctuations in your blood sugar levels.
It’s easy to think that eating – or not eating – sugar is just a nutrition decision. But the decision reaches far. Sugar actually lowers our quality of life in a number of ways. Below are three.
Sugar can, and does, damage our health through its direct impact on the immune system.Diabetes, pre-diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease and overweight are typically attributed to fats (or salt), but sugar can be the culprit in all of them. Sugar triggers high levels of the hormone insulin. Some people are more sensitive to sugar and secrete extra-high levels of insulin when they eat it. In turn, high insulin can trigger the production of inflammatory substances in the body, such as cytokines and series 2 prostaglandins. Currently, inflammation is medically recognized as the root cause of most, if not all, disease.
If you eat sugar, especially on a regular basis, you may notice your appetite increases. Sugar promotes release of beta-endorphin, which blocks the effect of the brain’s satiety center. Satiety makes us feel we’ve had enough food and don’t need more. The likely result is an increase in food consumption, whether for sugary foods or just more food in general. Appetite may feel out of control, and it starts with sugar.
Changing Food Preferences
Sugar will change food preferences. Eating an endorphin-triggering substance like sugar often prompts a desire for other endorphin-triggering foods: foods high in sugar, fat, or both. Healthful foods seem less appealing when sugar is a frequent part of the diet. Some of my clients are drawn to heavy, greasy foods whenever they use sugar. Similarly, every client I’ve ever had who hated vegetables was someone who ate sugar in fairly large quantities or frequently. These points may seem minor, but when you experience them on an ongoing basis — or rotate through them because life seems to revolve around the next sugar fix — your quality of life truly diminishes. Sugar lowers your quality of life in other ways, as well. Constant sugar cravings are one of them.
Sugar Cravings: Why We Have Them & How to Stop Them
A food craving is an intense urge or desire to eat a specific type of food. It’s not the same as hunger. We can crave a food, for example, right after a meal. One of the most common cravings is for sugary foods. Some people can indulge their sugar cravings without repercussions. For others, giving in repeatedly to cravings can undermine workouts or lead to health issues – weight gain, mood swings, diabetes, and more. In some cases, the information below on the origins of sugar cravings may differ from what you’ve read elsewhere. We’re typically told that sugar cravings result from low glucose, or emotions, or biological need. These explanations have some validity but leave much unexplained. Let’s look at some other possible reasons — real reasons — for sugar cravings.
Real Reason #1: Too Little Fat in Your Diet
Science journals refer to the Sugar/Fat Seesaw. As the name implies, it’s an inverse relationship in how much fat and sugar we eat. As one decreases in the diet, the other increases. Fats stabilize blood glucose and can help us control sugar cravings that way. But fats can help us eliminate sugar cravings for other reasons. When I was working on my Ph.D., no explanation for the sugar/fat seesaw existed in the science lit. In my dissertation, I offered a two-part explanation.
Part 1: When fat enters the small intestine, a hormone called CCK (cholecystokinin) is released. CCK reduces hunger, appetite and the desire for carbs.
A very low-fat diet is likely to lower CCK. With less CCK to reduce our intake of carbs and food in general, we want more. So low CCK from a low-fat diet contributes to a carb/fat seesaw. But how does sugar enter the picture?
Part 2: When we eat sugar, fat, or a combination, the brain releases beta-endorphin, a brain opioid. Animals become accustomed to a given level of brain opioids. When the fat in their diets is decreased, they have a reaction researchers describe as “withdrawal.”
My hypothesis was: if humans experience a similar reaction, sugar cravings may result from a diet that’s too low in fats and the CCK and beta-endorphin they trigger. The type of fat matters, too, but that’s another article!
Real Reason #2: Withdrawal
When habitual use of addictive substances is interrupted, an “abstinence syndrome” can result. That’s withdrawal, and it can cause sugar cravings. In someone who has recently stopped drinking alcohol, strong cravings for sugar can be frequent.
That’s because 3 key brain chemicals stimulated by alcohol are also stimulated by sugar. No wonder people in recovery from alcohol crave sugar and eat it often, or in large quantities, or both. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings often feature sugary back-of-room treats: cookies, brownies, cakes, pastries. If someone is addicted to sugar, quitting sugar can lead to cravings.
The effect may resemble symptoms of alcohol or opiate withdrawal (as research shows with lab animals made addicted to sugar) because sugar affects the same brain chemicals that are affected by alcohol and opiates. Research shows that the higher the level of intake prior to stopping, the greater the withdrawal and subsequent craving. Eating sugar when you crave alcohol or sugar can backfire, however, due to a phenomenon linked with internal triggers.
Real Reason #3: Triggers
External triggers involve seeing or smelling an appealing food. They may prompt the desire for that food.
Internal triggers involve eating a small amount of a trigger food, which makes us want more. In drug research, it’s called “priming” and results from a specific brain receptor for the chemical dopamine, the D1 receptor. Some people are more susceptible to priming than others.
Eating a bit of the food we crave is mainstream cravings “wisdom.” That can be terrible advice for sugar addicts, who are highly sensitive to priming. I consider priming the best argument against eating sugar when you crave it – it’s likely to start a binge. As sugar stimulates release of beta-endorphin, that in turn stimulates dopamine. When the D1 receptor binds with dopamine, folks who are susceptible to priming may crave more sugar. Priming can make it difficult for some people to quit sugar by “weaning” themselves off sugar slowly. Quitting sugar “cold turkey” is often the best way to go. Not everyone wants to hear that! It’s understandable. After years of sugar addiction, you’re reluctant to let it go. But decreasing sugar bit by bit can make it nearly impossible to quit because priming provokes the desire for more sugar. And a little bit can cause big cravings.
Real Reason #4: Stress
Okay, it’s mean, but when researchers want to stress mice, they pinch their tails. The first thing the mice do? Run to their food bowls and eat. Beta-endorphin is released in response to either pleasure or distress. And it increases appetite. Further, when the stressed mice have a choice between ordinary mouse chow and crumbled cookies, which do they choose? Yes, cookies. Release of beta-endorphin makes sugar (and fat) more appealing. Of course, people are more complex. Some are highly susceptible to beta-endorphin and react to any stress by eating. For others, short-term stress decreases appetite.
An important early morning presentation at work could bring on a stress-chemical cascade that leads to skipping breakfast. Once the presentation is done, a different hormone – cortisol – takes over and increases appetite. Lunch that day might make up for the skipped breakfast, and then some. In long-term stress, cortisol plays a prominent role and keeps stimulating appetite. It decreases serotonin, and that may cause anxiety or depression.
Negative moods can cause cravings, mostly for carbs – often junky ones like sugar. Low serotonin reduces satiety – especially for carbs – and also makes us more impulsive. That combination makes it more likely that we’ll eat the junky carbs we crave. Chronically high cortisol decreases two other brain chemicals: dopamine and norepinephrine. When serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine drop, that leads to cravings, addictions, impulsive and compulsive behaviors — and a preference for carbs and sugars. Over time, cortisol decreases beta-endorphin. Chronically low beta-endorphin increases addictive or compulsive behaviors, including alcoholism, bulimia, binge eating, and more.
Reason #5: Problems with Serotonin
Serotonin is an important brain chemical that’s commonly known due to anti-depressant medications that have been on the market for years. Serotonin promotes relaxation, calm and satiety. It has profound effects on cravings, appetite, and food preferences. Serotonin disturbances may include depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause, chronic alcohol use, or insulin resistance. Any of these can result in sugar cravings. When premenstrual serotonin levels drop, PMS may occur. That includes a long list of symptoms and signs: pain, anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings, nervousness, angry outbursts, impulsivity, fatigue, fluid retention, bloating, weight gain, backache, cramps, headaches, joint pain, breast pain, insomnia, acne, increased appetite – and cravings, especially for sugar.
Poor diet can be a major reason that a woman might suffer from PMS. Women with PMS tend to have higher intakes of sugar, alcohol, white flour, salt, saturated fat, caffeine, and dairy products. Let’s focus on high sugar intake. Sugar increases the intensity of PMS symptoms. It increases breast tenderness, congestion and pain; abdominal bloating; and swelling of the face and extremities. Sugar also increases magnesium excretion, which in turn results in irritability, anxiety, depression, low brain-reward chemicals, and insomnia. Any of these symptoms can bring on sugar cravings in a self-perpetuating cycle.
- And Then There’s Insulin Resistance – Insulin resistance interferes with serotonin, provoking sugar cravings and even depression. Let’s see how this works. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, allows glucose to enter cells for metabolism. (It has other functions, too.) If someone becomes insulin resistant, cells no longer respond to insulin. The body’s first line of defense is to produce more insulin to continue processing glucose. This works until the production of insulin no longer outpaces the degree of resistance. (That’s an extremely oversimplified description of the onset of type 2 diabetes.) Along the way, high levels of insulin are likely to cause inflammation and the health issues described above: heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and more. It’s not insulin resistance per se that causes these diseases, but the extra insulin that’s released to compensate when the body becomes resistant. High insulin brings on inflammatory hormones, as described earlier. We typically hear that overweight causes insulin resistance. That’s true, but not the whole picture. Insulin resistance can be caused by genetics or by lifestyle – lack of exercise and/or poor diet.
- What Does This Have to Do with Serotonin and Sugar Cravings? The primary site of insulin resistance is skeletal muscle. Insulin-resistant muscle doesn’t allow glucose to enter the cells. The glucose ends up being transported to fat cells, and cravings for carbs and/or sugar can result. A connection with depression and mood issues exists, too, leading to more cravings. As you recall from 7th grade biology (!), amino acids are the Building Blocks of Protein. Insulin transports amino acids to muscles, where they’re used for various functions: formation of blood, hormones and enzymes; wound healing; tissue repair; energy use; and many more. A top-priority use of amino acids is making specific brain chemicals. Tryptophan is the amino acid the brain uses to make serotonin. Insulin resistance interferes with tryptophan’s transport to the brain, lowering serotonin production. Low serotonin is linked with all of the above issues. And sugar cravings.
Reason #6: Too Little Protein in Your Diet
Eating too little protein can be a huge cause of sugar cravings. In my clinical experience, vegans (who eat no animal products) often have extremely strong cravings for carbs, and often for sugar. Vegetarians may experience this, as well. As you see, sugar cravings are linked with brain chemicals. Protein is made of amino acids that build the brain chemicals we need to stop sugar cravings. When those chemicals are at optimal levels, we think clearly, crave sugar less often, and resist cravings more easily. Further, protein is another nutrient (along with fat) that promotes release of CCK as it enters the small intestine. A low-protein diet can result in a drop in both CCK and key brain chemicals, leading to strong cravings for carbs, especially sugar.
Protein foods include poultry, fish, lean beef, lamb, pork, eggs, shellfish, cottage cheese, and plain Greek yogurt with 18-20 grams of protein per serving. If you’re vegan and crave sugar, it can help to eat some animal protein in whatever form you’re willing to eat it. Some vegan clients of mine who had severe sugar cravings were willing to eat eggs, fish or shrimp. Some were willing to eat high-protein yogurt. (Yogurt with about 20 grams of protein per serving is high-protein. Seven or eight grams will not be enough, especially if the yogurt is flavored, which means sweetened.) If you’re unwilling to eat any animal products, I recommend unsweetened vegetable protein powders.
No mistake: adequate protein is key to eliminating sugar cravings.
Some people eat nuts, thinking they’re protein, but nuts are primarily fats. Nuts are good to include in your diet, but you’d have to consume a lot of fat to get the small amount of protein they contain. In fact, some nuts have more carbohyrate than protein! Other foods that are considered protein (but aren’t) include peanut butter (mostly fat), cheese (mostly saturated fat), quinoa (mostly carb), and the almost-famous vegetarian beans-and-rice combo (extremely high carb). Those foods do contain a little protein, but never skimp on protein when you’re trying to end sugar cravings.
Sugar cravings are frequently to blame for diet failures, sugar addiction relapses, and more. I hope this information helps you understand cravings so you can finally quit sugar if you decide to do so. So how can you do that?
Tips and Strategies to Help You Quit Sugar
- Select your quitting day. It will take about 6 days to quit and feel the powerful effects.
- Stock your kitchen. Make sure you have plenty of protein, plenty of healthful fats, plenty of vegetables, plenty of healthful starches. Build your meals so each one includes all of them.
- Pre-cut the vegetables, so they’re accessible and convenient as snacks, as well as with meals.
- Get rid of any sugary foods you have in the house. Don’t tell yourself you’ll simply avoid them. If a sugar craving strikes, it will be too easy to eat them.
- Arm yourself with liquid B-complex. Liquid B-complex will stop a craving in a few minutes. Make sure you get complete B-complex, not a specific, individual B vitamin — in other words, not B12! (For some reason, it’s the most common mistake.)
- Work out as usual, but not necessarily super-hard.
- Drink plenty of water in the days before you quit, during your Quitting Days, and beyond.
At least a few days ahead of quitting, start eating meals that include one food from each group in tip # 2. Continue doing that. On your quitting day, stop eating sugar. Use 1 teaspoon of liquid B-complex whenever you get a sugar craving, and give it a few minutes to take effect. B-complex supplies the brain with the B-vitamins that help in the formation of the brain chemicals that stop cravings. If you stick with this for 6 days, it will work. You’ll be past the hard part. Then the discipline starts as you stick with this type of eating long-term.
Wishing you great success with this!
If you need help with quitting sugar, that’s what I do, and I’d love to help you. Just visit FoodAddictionSolutions.com Coaching and request your free Last Resort Nutrition® Craving-Crusher Consult! Find out how fantastic you’ll feel when you’re finally free of cravings and food compulsions.
TheDiabetesCouncil Article | Reviewed by Dr. Christine Traxler MD on September 08, 2018
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Last Updated: Saturday, September 8, 2018 Last Reviewed: Saturday, September 8, 2018
Last Updated on January 30, 2018
Have you ever craved for sugar so much that you cannot restrict yourself from a candy bar? Or are you a person with diabetes but once a sweet tooth and now all you can do is crave? Well, we have all been there, we have all done that.
You might have people telling you to do nothing about it; it is who you are, some people like sweets more than other. And then some people will suggest to eat healthily and exercise. Let me tell you one thing; these statements can never be more wrong.
For so long I was also one of those who used to think that you can do nothing while you crave sugar but from a little while I have changed my living style and so much has changed since then.
Here are some factors and their solutions that make you crave for sugar.
- BAD HABITS
Yes, we often develop bad habits and then blame everything else but ourselves. One day we were not eating chocolates, then the other day we had a small bar, and then the portion started increasing gradually. What is happening here is that we are training our body to ask for something it consumes on a daily basis.
Change your bad habits and plan your sugar intake, even if your refrigerator has two chocolate bars in it than I does not mean you have to have it all in a day. Plan when you can adjust it with your daily calories intake and then wait for the day to come, you will feel like you have earned it!
- HEALTHY START
I was one of those who use to skip there breakfast and spend rest of my day feeling miserable and making everyone’s life miserable. Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is a key to a happy lifestyle.
When we eat better early in the day, there is a very little chance for us to ask for more. Studies have shown that people who eat better and take required sugar early in the morning lose and maintains their weight quickly.
Do not take healthy eating to dull food; there are so many delicious recipes for diet plans that can make you stick to it for longer than you can imagine.
- SLEEP DEPRIVED
Studies say that if you are not sleeping for straight eight hours at night than there is more chance for you to gain weight and have several harmful effects. But lesser do we know that we crave for sweet things when we sleep less than we are supposed to.
When we sleep less, our body produces hormones that make us feel hungry. Have you noticed you feel hungry throughout the day when you have not had enough sleep at night? And what food do you crave most? Sugary, because our body needs immediate energy to cope up with the rest of the day and sugar is the best source to energize ourselves.
- EATS WHEN TOO HUNGRY
We often consider that to let us wait to have a meal is a good thing, or to skip a meal entirely can do wonders for you. Maybe for a shorter span, it will, but for the long run, you will regret developing this eating habit of yours.
When we deprive ourself of eating when hungry, we do not just get mad on every little thing around us, but we also overeat. We find ourselves approaching for things that may not be very good for our health but what we see irresistible is everything sweet.
Eat whenever you feel like eating but do not misunderstand your boredom to hunger, there is a delicate line in between.
- NOT SNACKING
When we plan a diet, we remove snacks from it immediately, good, do it, but eliminate the unhealthy ones only. A handful of walnuts can prove to be of more help in reducing your weight than eight to nine hours of not eating at all.
Try to eat four to five times a day but in small portions. This will help you control your sugar cravings.
- NOT HAVING AN ENERGY DRINK AFTER WORKOUT
After a good work out session, even touching a smoothie or a drink feels like a wrong thing but trust me it is not, if anything, it is healthy for you to have a glass of a smoothie or an energy drink. For me, a smoothie is a better option as you can prepare it with all natural ingredients.
When I say smoothie I mean nonfat milk or yogurt (not whole cream milk), honey, if needed (not processed sugar or any other sweetener), and fruits of your choice.
A work out takes a lot out of you in an hour or so, boosting up your energy should be your priority otherwise you will find yourself in taking more calories than you burned.
Leading a healthy lifestyle can be an answer to all our worries, a little change in our habits cannot just help us keep in shape but also prevent us from many diseases. If you are a diabetic patient than the factors stated above will help you keep your hands off what is no more than poison for you and if you are not diagnosed with this problem than following these as preventions can help you stay out of this disease.
Diabetics is now a widespread disease and a child age four even have it, mostly it is genetic, but your choices can also lead you to danger and not just you but your child too.
Be very careful with what you put in your mouth; it is not just you that will get affected by it; your children will too be a part of it.
Author bio: Michelle Hannan is a nutritionist, and she’s on a mission to give you all the information you need to lose weight successfully. She also blogs regularly at https://www.hcgdietinfo.net/
If you’ve been reading headlines lately, you’ll know that sugar is the new villain when it comes to obesity, inflammation, and chronic disease. Yet we Americans crave the sweet stuff. According to government figures, sugar has infiltrated the American diet so much that, on average, we eat about 152 pounds of it a year. Compare that to what we were eating 200 years ago: only 2 pounds of sugar per year. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends we limit calories from added sugar to less than 10% each day. That’s about 200 calories worth, or roughly 13 teaspoons of sugar for someone consuming 2,000 calories per day — on average, we get closer to 680 calories worth, or nearly 43 teaspoons of sugar each day.
Where does all the sugar come from?
More than a third of our sugar intake is in the form of sugary drinks, including non-diet sodas, sweetened ice tea, sports drinks, and other soft drinks. Table sugar accounts for about 25% of our intake. And the rest comes from baked goods, desserts, candy, fruit drinks, and breakfast cereals.
Sugar by any other name is still sugar…
Some foods and beverages are obviously full of sugar. But sugar lurks in many foods that you’d never suspect. Examples include:
• Pasta sauce
• Salad dressing
• Frozen dinners
You can learn how to spot sugar by scanning the ingredients list of your food items. The following terms indicate the presence of sugar in a food or beverage:
• Syrup (corn, maple, cane sugar, high-fructose)
• Brown sugar
Why do we crave sugar?
It’s natural for people to enjoy the taste of something sweet, and this preference starts at birth. Babies are born liking the taste of sweet and disliking the taste of bitter. Scientists believe that our sweet tooth dates back to our prehistoric ancestors, who gravitated to ripe fruit as a source of energy. In addition, eating sugar is pleasurable, and not just because it tastes good. When we eat sugar, endorphins (those feel-good chemicals) are released, along with serotonin, another chemical that regulates happiness and mood. Some people gravitate toward sugar for emotional reasons, too — feeling sad, depressed, anxious, or bored may trigger the desire to stifle these emotions by reaching for something sweet (remember that eating something sweet can make you feel better, at least temporarily). And force of habit can leave us wanting sugar on a regular basis — for example, growing up eating dessert after dinner every night, or coming home from school to a plate of homemade cookies. People who have diabetes may crave sugar when their blood sugar levels drop too low; “treating” the low with sugar helps to bring blood sugar back to a safe level.
Enjoying something sweet now and then isn’t an issue for most people, and evidence-based nutrition guidelines (including those for people who have diabetes) recognize this. But a constant intake of sugar can lead to a host of medical problems (for example, obesity, heart disease, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, some types of cancer) and some health experts believe that sugar has addictive properties: the more you eat, the more you crave. For this reason, many people choose to avoid it altogether, and perhaps for good reason.
How can you curb your craving for sugar?
The good news is that you can decrease your desire for sugar. It’s difficult to completely cut sugar out of your diet, in part because sugar is naturally found in some foods, such as fruits and vegetables. However, if visions of sugarplums continue to dance in your head and you want to put a stop to them, the following steps can help:
Clean out your cupboards (and your fridge). Keeping cookies and candy bars stashed in your cupboards isn’t going to help those cravings go away. Make a clean sweep of those sweets. If you live with others who enjoy them, ask them to keep their treats hidden away.
Ditch the candy dish at work. The workplace is often another environment that can feed into sugar cravings. People may keep a dish of candy on their desk, or bring in doughnuts or other treats and leave them in the kitchen. Depending on your relationship with your coworkers, you might find that asking them (nicely) to keep their candy in their desk drawer works. Or, consider talking with your boss or human resources director about instituting a healthier workplace food policy.
Eat regular, balanced meals. Cravings can hit hard if you tend to skip meals and/or if your meals aren’t balanced with healthy carbs, protein, and fat. Try to eat your meals at regular times.
Plan for snacks. Not everyone needs snacks, but you’re reaching for a candy bar mid-afternoon, your energy level (and maybe your blood sugar) is likely taking a nosedive. Go for a healthy snack that contains some protein, such as an apple with a small handful of almonds, a hardboiled egg, or a small dish of plain Greek yogurt mixed with berries.
Train your brain. Forming new habits takes time, but it’s doable. When a craving strikes, try distracting yourself. This can mean going for a short walk, drinking a glass of water, or calling a friend for a chat.
Don’t be fooled by sugar substitutes. Sure, choosing a diet soda over a regular soda means fewer calories and zero effect on your blood sugar. But when it comes to cravings, going for sugar-free (or no sugar added) foods and drinks won’t lessen them — and may even prolong them.
Get your sleep. Short-changing yourself on sleep can affect your weight and your blood sugars, and can also make it much harder to kick that sugar craving to the curb. Make a point to aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
Plan for a sweet treat. In some instances, completely depriving yourself of something can cause you to want it that much more. If you give yourself permission to enjoy something sweet — say, a piece of dark chocolate or a small scoop of ice cream — now and then, your sweet tooth may be satisfied and that pesky craving may fade away.
Reward yourself. Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back if you try any of the above steps. Go to a movie, get a massage, or curl up with a good book.
Talk with your dietitian or health-care provider if you find that your cravings are becoming more noticeable or aren’t going away.
Want to learn more about managing food cravings with diabetes? Read “Craving Carbs” and “Diabetes Hunger and Food Cravings.”
Sugar cravings: combating a sweet tooth
Sugar exists in our modern diets in a whole range of different forms.
Psychologist Dr Jen Nash offers her take on dealing with sugar cravings and offers a perspective on the underlying causes behind them.
The sour side of a sweet tooth
Ever raided the biscuit tin? Tucked into treats at the office? Added an extra spoonful of sugar to your coffee? Sugar has become a staple ingredient of modern day eating, and everyone, with or without diabetes, can benefit from limiting their intake.
But, in our sugar-laden diets, this is easier said than done, particularly as sweet food is often offered as an expression of love in our food-abundant cultures. We take a look at the psychological reasons behind sugar cravings, in an effort to help you master them…
Why do we crave sugar?
It is perfectly natural to enjoy sweet food. We have evolved from times when food was scarce, and high calorie food was rewarding both to our taste buds, and for our survival. Some people feel ‘addicted’ to sugar, and report that freedom only comes when they completely abstain from it.
Sweet food certainly acts on the reward systems in our brains, and, for most of us, sweet food has a positive impact on mood, at least in the short-term.
The concept of a sweet tooth is a fascinating one. As a psychologist working with people with a ‘sweet tooth’, it is interesting that often the desire for sugary food is a signal that ‘sweetness’ is craved for in another part of life.
Craving sweet food has become a socially acceptable smokescreen for a desire for ‘sweetness’ in other forms, whether it’s stress relief, comfort, reward, overcoming tiredness, or prolonging a celebration.
It’s important to note that it’s not ‘bad’ to crave sugar, and shouldn’t be something you should feel guilty about – cravings are natural and most of us deal with them at some point.
Mind over matter
But, what has your ‘inner world’ got to do with sugar? If you’re curious, the first step is be a detective and notice what’s going on when the sugar craving strikes. You can start by getting clued up about the three different types of hunger –
- Stomach hunger is the signal that your body needs to be fed. E.g. an empty/gnawing feelings in your stomach, irritability, headache or fatigue, amongst others.
- Mouth hunger occurs when one of your senses triggers a desire for food –smelling or seeing food / images of food, or hearing food-related sounds such as a packet being opened.
- Heart hunger is a desire for food that occurs due to an emotion, memory or thought, or about your sense of self. It develops suddenly and occurs in your mind. Eating often leads to guilt and/or shame, rather than the satisfaction that comes with eating in response to stomach hunger.
If you’re not experiencing stomach hunger when you’re craving, then it means you’re ‘hungry’ for something else. Sometimes only sweet food will do, but rather than just ‘numbing out’ and eating unconsciously, start to see the desire for sweet food as a symptom, or clue, revealing something else. Try asking yourself, ‘What am I really hungry for?’
Could it be…
- To reward or treat yourself for a job well done (or just getting through the challenges of the day)?
- To prolong a ‘high’ or celebration?
- Or something deeper – a different relationship, a less stressful job, or a more appealing way to spend your days?
Sometimes it’s possible to create changes in life to get these true ‘cravings’ met:
- Leave or speak up in a relationship that isn’t working for you
- Read a book that teaches skills to communicate differently to people that leave you feeling angry/taken advantage of
- Find more creative ways of rewarding yourself
- Change your job, or negotiate different conditions.
If it’s possible to make the change then do so, and notice what happens to those sugar cravings. But sometimes it feels impossible to make these big changes and we can feel very stuck. Often just the insight of what you are truly craving loosens the grip of power that it has over you. So rather than saying to yourself, ‘What’s the matter with me, I just can’t resist sweet food’, you can instead start to see the craving as an attempt to get an important ‘inner’ need met. You can begin to have a different conversation with yourself, ‘Ah I see, I’m craving this sugary food because of XYZ’.
Sugar doesn’t have to be the enemy, to be battled. When we switch our mind-set to see the sugar as an attempt to take care of ourselves, we can start to think creatively about our choices. Think of a child you know. Yes, they might want to keep eating sweet food until they’re sick, but as a parent, you likely allow sugar in moderation, and then engage them in a distracting activity that will appeal at least as much. What might be your equivalent? After all, as adults we too need a good balance of work, rest and play.
Look elsewhere for your fix
If you realise you are craving sweet food in relation to your inner world, try one or more of the following and see what’s helpful:
- Talking to someone who understands
- Writing it down (you can destroy it afterwards)
- Getting active/engaging in physical activities
- Create another way of treating yourself
- Say no to others’ requests
- Have a sleep
- Meditating, praying or having some other reflection time
Sugar cravings, as well as cravings for reward, solace and celebration, are natural. Remember it’s ok to use sugar to deal with life’s problems some of the time – most people do.
Finally, try and learn from the ‘predictability of life’. If you know that certain situations, events, people and feelings trigger your sugar cravings, how can you be kind to yourself and create a plan to help you?
Sometimes preparation is the best form of defence…
Win the ‘inner battle’ with sugar
Sugar cravings, as well as cravings for reward, solace and celebration, are natural. Remember it’s ok to use sugar to deal with life’s problems some of the time – most people do. Difficulties occur when sugar becomes the ‘go-to’ way of dealing with problems it wasn’t designed to fix. By figuring out what you are truly craving, and developing a range of ways of dealing with it, you will be in control, not the sugar.
If you’d like more on this topic, get a free E-book, ‘Why Diets Fail’ written by the author from www.EatingBlueprint.com.
What do sugar cravings mean?
Despite the endless health campaigns to encourage us to cut back, sugar still makes up a third of our calorie intake. This is deeply worrying, say experts, who are increasingly concerned that our bodies were not designed to take such a sugar overload, and fear it is contributing to many modern ills, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
The problem is that sugar is highly addictive, as study after study has shown. Researchers at Yale University revealed that dramatic falls in blood sugar, which occur after eating “bad” carbohydrates such as sweets and biscuits, affect the part of the brain controlling impulse. This leads to a loss of self control and a subsequent craving for more unhealthy, high-calorie foods.
The researchers said this could help explain today’s global obesity epidemic.
Meanwhile, Robert Lustig, a leading US obesity expert, has gone further – he believes sugar is an addictive toxin and should be regulated in the same way as cigarettes.
But as well as causing health problems, could an addiction to sugar be a sign of an underlying health condition? That’s the suggestion being made by Dr Jacob Teitelbaum in his book, Beat Sugar Addiction Now! (Fairwinds Press).
He describes sugar addiction as the “canary in the coal mine,” saying it often points to an undiagnosed problem such as failing adrenal glands (which sit above the kidneys and pump out hormones) or even too much “bad” bacteria in the gut.
Dr Teitelbaum has identified four types of sugar addiction. He says they are triggered by different causes, from hormonal changes to infections. According to the type that best describes you, he suggests a specific action plan to tackle the problem.
Here are the four types – which one is most like you?
The signs: You’re stressed, tired and craving sweets through the day – all signs that indicate an underactive thyroid gland, which leads to fatigue. Tension in the muscles – which are also not getting the energy they need to function – can cause frequent headaches.
The solution: Drink more water to help flush your system. Cut back from caffeine, until you are on one cup a day, then switch to herbal teas. Ban processed food and switch wholefoods such as brown bread, rice and pasta, which take longer for the body to digest, keeping blood sugar levels stable. Getting more sleep optimises energy levels, reduces appetite and slashes sugar cravings. When you are tired, you are more likely to crave sugar to generate energy artificially.
The signs: Cannot get through the day without bread or sugar. Have had more than your fair share of antibiotics or antacids, which could have triggered an overgrowth of bad bacteria.
Antibiotics kill “good” bacteria in the gut, while antacids neutralise the stomach acid that normally tackles bad bacteria. Dr Teitelbaum claims the yeast over-population feeds on sugar. It triggers cravings for sugar and bread because the body quickly converts these to glucose.
Eating sugar makes the yeast multiply, thus intensifying cravings and creating a vicious circle. Steroids and stress, which increase your body’s secretion of the hormone cortisol, can suppress your immune system, allowing yeast to run wild, making sugar cravings constant.
The solution: Cut back on all forms of sugar, as well as caffeine, and switch to a low-GI diet. Take a probiotic supplement or yoghurt (twice a day for five months) to support a healthy gut.
The signs: Irritable when hungry, often feel stressed or dizzy when standing. Suffer frequently from a sore throat and may often be thirsty and have to urinate frequently.
The problem: You could be suffering from adrenal overload. Adrenal glands pump out the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol when we’re under pressure. When under constant pressure, these glands can become sluggish, so we often turn to sugar for a short burst of energy.
The solution: Graze on small, high-protein meals throughout the day nuts, cheese or eggs). This should keep energy levels steady, making it easier to cut back on sugar. Try to reduce stress levels too.
Menopause or PMT
The signs: Experience low mood and reduced sex drive, with irregular or changing periods. The week before it starts you experience insomnia, headaches, fatigue and hot flushes.
The problem: You may be experiencing menopause, perimenopause (the lead-up to the menopause) or PMT. As levels of oestrogen and progesterone drop, women become more prone to insulin resistance. This can cause sugar cravings to soar, leaving you tired and irritable. As hormone levels change, the body attempts to raise levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, and since sugar triggers a serotonin release, this can cause you to crave sweet things.
The solution: Cut down on sugar as much as possible. If you suffer from premenstrual tension, try taking vitamin B6 (200mg a day). This helps ease the deficiency of the “feel good” hormone prostaglandin E1 (when this hormone is low, irritability and sugar cravings can result).
If mood swings are a problem, it could be from excess sugar thats blocking your ability to turn a substance called GLA (gamma linoleic acid) into the DGLA (dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid) needed to produce prostaglandins that improve mood. Cutting out sugar allows your body to make prostaglandin more effectively.
If you are concerned about your health, book an appointment with your GP, who will be able to advise a correct treatment plan. In an emergency, call 000.
The sugar-free diet explained
The sugar-free diet explained
It is likely that million Americans have an addiction to sugar. I once read somewhere that breaking a sugar addiction can be just as difficult as breaking a heroin addiction, and I believe it. Guzzling down a piece of candy, cake, or soft drink can feel downright satisfying. Realizing that I’ll likely never break my addiction to sweets, I’ve found several low or zero calories alternatives to fuel my addiction.
Big League Chew, the shredded bubble gum in a tobacco pouch, is sugar sweet but has only two grams of sugar per serving. Two grams of sugar equal 1% carbs. Even if I were a glutton and ate the entire package of gum, I’d only be consuming 40 carbs. This isn’t bad at all considering that I get my “sugar fix” while keeping my sugar consumption incredibly low. I vividly remember the Big League Chew commercials as a child as it was marketed as an alternative to chewing tobacco for baseball players. Who knew that the gum I saw debut in 1980 would be my go to gum for helping control my diabetes?
Speaking of childhood gum, who can forget Bazooka bubble gum? The little rectangle shaped pieces used to be so hard to chew that I often thought that I’d crack a tooth, but today I chew sugar-free Bazooka bubble gum on a regular basis. While not quite as sweet-tasting as Big League, Bazooka hits the spot when sugar cravings arise. Best of all, it offers zero carbs, so I can smack on gum until the cows come home without worrying about sugar spikes.
While the majority of candy and gums are loaded with sugar, there are several sugar-free alternatives that can satisfy our cravings. The best bet is to make a list of your favorite, best tasting low carb sweets and stick to that list. Ironically, I find that I don’t crave a particular type of candy; I just crave sugar. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same thing can be said about breaking a sugar addictions.
Why Am I Craving Sugar All of a Sudden and Remedies
A strong desire to consume a particular type of food is called a food craving. It is very common for people to develop a craving for sugar in the form of chocolate, ice-cream, cake etc. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is recommended that added sugars and natural sugars should constitute only 5% (25g of sugar for a 2000 calorie diet) of an adult’s daily calorie intake.Due to our current lifestyle, the consumption of refined sugars in the form of sweets, chocolate, soda etc.has increased. Long-term consumption of large quantities of sugar is associated with an increased propensity for developing obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. It’s therefore important to understand sugar craving, its contributing factors and effective methods to handle it.
Why Do We Crave Sugar?
Mesolimbic Dopamine (DA) Pathway
Food craving and drug addiction both involve the mesolimbic dopamine (DA) pathway. The reinforcing behavior seen in food craving and drug addiction is due to the increase in DA in the limbic system in the brain. In modern times, there is an increased consumption of hyper-palatable foods which are rich in sugar, salt, fat, additives etc. People develop a craving for hyper-palatable foods. Consumption of these foods, for the purpose of satiating a craving rather than hunger, is because of their rewarding properties; an increased release of dopamine. Food craving has been found to be similar to drug abuse. The repeated increase in dopamine release due to the activation of the mesolimbic dopamine pathway modifies the neural circuits in the brain leading to loss of control over the amount of food consumed.Studies have shown that rats fed with foods rich in sugar exhibited compulsive eating behavior and characteristics of addiction to sugar which were similar to drug addiction.Similarly, in humans, consuming foods rich in sugar can lead to poor control over food intake.
Sugar consumption results in the release of serotonin, which is the feel-good neurotransmitter and beta-endorphin, which is a natural painkiller present in the body. The increase in production of these chemicals in the body can also contribute to an intense craving for sugar.
Why Do We Crave Sugar Suddenly?
- Pregnancy in females: According to a 2010 study published in the journal Appetite, pregnant females may crave sugar suddenly. Researchers found that females suffering from gestational diabetes developed more severe cravings for sugar, particularly during late pregnancy. The reason could be the changes in hormones related to pregnancy and gestational diabetes.
- Use of artificial sweetener: If you have recently started using artificial sweeteners, then you may develop sudden cravings for sugar. According to a 2010 review published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, although no sugar is present in artificial sweeteners, their sweet taste can encourage cravings and dependency on sugar. Some examples of artificial sweeteners that can result in cravings for sugar are sucralose and aspartame, also referred to as Splenda.
- Increased intake of protein: According to a 2012 study published in Eating and Weight Loss Disorder, eating a diet high in proteins may cause cravings for sugar. Researchers found that participants who followed a high protein diet – they were getting 25% of their total calorie intake from protein – developed increased sugar cravings six to twelve months into the diet program.
- Quitting Smoking: If you have quit smoking recently, then you may experience a sudden increase in cravings for sugar. According to a 2008 study, quitting smoking increases the ingestion of sweet foods in animals. The study also reports that in the USA, people who smoke less tend to have a higher sugar consumption and vice versa.
- Stress: Stress is associated with feelings of anger, depression, apathy etc. and foods rich in sugar can serve as a form of self-medication for stress. Individuals in a stressful state of mind have been shown to favor hyper-palatable foods rich in sugar, whereas individuals in a cheerful state of mind have been shown to favor foods such as dried fruits.
- Hormonal imbalance: Hormonal imbalances can also lead to sugar cravings. Low estrogen and progesterone levels in women and low testosterone levels in men can cause sugar cravings.
Health Hazards of Sugar Craving
Increased consumption of added sugars can lead to adverse effects on health. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) containing free fructose is a commonly used sugar additive in beverages and processed foods. Fructose in natural sources such as fruit has health benefits. But free fructose present in the artificial sweeteners can lead to health hazards.
- Liver damage: Similar to alcohol, fructose is metabolized in the liver. Increased fructose intake can lead to liver damage.
- Harms the appetite-regulating system: Fructose also affects the appetite regulating system.Insulin exerts an appetite suppressant effect by inhibiting ghrelin, which is the hormone that stimulates hunger. This leads to stimulation of leptin production, which is the hormone that gives the feeling of satiety by acting on the hypothalamus. Fructose, when consumed as a sugar additive, does not stimulate insulin production from the pancreas. Lack of insulin production affects the appetite regulating system in the body, leading to a lack of satiety after eating, which results in obesity.
- Causes metabolic syndrome: Research has shown that an increased consumption of added sugars in the diet can lead to metabolic syndrome. This is characterized by abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high serum triglycerides and low high – density lipoprotein(HDL) levels.Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Causes cognitive decline: Studies have shown that an increased consumption of added sugars can lead to cognitive decline in humans, which can increase the incidence of diseases like Alzheimer’s.
How to Stop Sugar Craving Both in Diabetics and Non-Diabetics?
Studies have shown that eating breakfast, especially a protein rich one, prevents sugar cravings for the rest of the day and leads to an increase in homovanillic acid, which is a precursor of dopamine.Consuming foods rich in vitamin C also reduces sugar cravings by increasing the serotonin levels in the body.Eating whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables also reduces sugar cravings. It is also important not to skip meals, especially breakfast, as that may result in low blood sugar, leading to binge eating for the rest of the day. Diabetics are advised to eat three whole meals in a day with two snack intervals, to maintain stable blood sugar levels. Maintaining a stable blood sugar level can stop sugar cravings in both the diabetic and non-diabetic population.
Avoid foods containing added sugars
Avoid foods containing artificial sweeteners such as HFCS, as they can lead to sugar craving.A study conducted on lab rats by Assistant Professor Joseph Schroeder from Connecticut College, shows that Oreos have an addictive potential similar to cocaine. It is recommended that you avoid eating processed foods containing added sugars. You should also carefully read the food labels in order to identify foods containing added sugars.
Lack of sleep leads to an imbalance between leptin and ghrelin levels. A study conducted by the University of Chicago, found that lack of sleep can decrease leptin levels and increase ghrelin levels, leading to sugar craving. It also augments the endocannabinoid system in the body which is known to cause a propensity to over eat. Sleep deprivation also leads to insulin resistance and other complications associated with diabetes. So it’s important for diabetics and non-diabetics to sleep well to prevent sugar cravings.
Keep your body hydrated
Dehydration can lead to sugar cravings. To prevent this you should drink the recommended daily allowance of water (3liters for men and 2.2litersfor women). When dehydrated the liver is unable to release glycogen which is the energy source for the body. This causes the body to crave sugar, as the liver needs glucose and water for glycogen production. Dehydration also decreases serotonin levels in the body leading to sugar craving. Diabetics should remain hydrated as high blood sugar levels can lead to dehydration. Being sufficiently hydrated helps diabetics to maintain a stable blood sugar level apart from stopping their sugar cravings.
Multivitamin supplements containing calcium and vitamin D can stop sugar cravings which helps to promote weight loss. Supplements containing trace minerals such as chromium and vanadium can also inhibit sugar craving.
Stress causes sugar craving. The regular practice of meditation reduces stress, thereby decreasing sugar cravings.
Indulge a little
Occasionally, you can indulge in sugary treats to keep sugar cravings at bay. It is best to consume treats with natural sugars in them rather than artificial sugars like HFCS. Especially for diabetics, it is best to consume natural sweeteners like Stevia.
Take fermented foods
The bacteria in fermented foods reduces the sugar burden in your body. Over time it has been found that consuming fermented foods reduces your sugar craving. Fermented foods are also diabetic friendly and they can help control diabetes as well as the sugar cravings.
Sugar craving is associated with a number of health problems. Whether you are a diabetic or non-diabetic, it is important that you control your sugar cravings in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Sugar Cravings at Night
Share Information and Help Others
What causes food cravings?
There are a variety of ways to reduce unwanted food cravings. These include:
Reducing stress levels
Share on PinterestPregnant women often experience strong cravings. This may be due to hormonal changes, which are thought to cause some food cravings.
Stress and emotional eating can influence a variety of health issues. Feeling stressed may promote emotional eating and cravings for comfort foods.
One study found that stressed women are more prone to cravings for sweets than women without stress. Eating due to stress may also cause weight gain and a larger hip circumference.
Stress may also cause weight gain on its own, without extra food cravings. Stress results in higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which may promote belly fat.
Drinking plenty of water
Hunger and thirst can produce very similar sensations in the mind, causing it to become confused. One of the easiest ways to reduce food cravings is to make sure the body is hydrated throughout the day.
Drinking plenty of water helps clean out toxins from the body, which may also benefit a person’s overall well-being.
Getting enough sleep
A 2013 study found that not getting enough sleep could alter the body’s hormonal balance. This imbalance contributes to overeating and weight gain.
The researchers noted that when the sleep-deprived participants switched to an adequate sleep schedule, they lost weight, which indicates that their hormones were brought back into balance.
Eating enough protein
A healthful diet should contain plenty of lean sources of protein, as they may help reduce cravings.
A study in the journal Obesity found that overweight men were able to reduce their cravings by up to 60 percent by getting 25 percent of their daily calorie intake from protein.
The same study found that a high protein diet helped reduce the desire for nighttime snacks by 50 percent.
Chewing gum keeps the mouth busy and may help reduce both sweet and salty cravings.
One study found a small but significant difference in sweet and salty snack consumption among people who chewed gum and those who did not. Those who chewed gum rated themselves less hungry, had fewer cravings for snacks, and felt fuller than those who did not chew gum.
Changing the scenery
Share on PinterestChanging habits, such as stopping at the park instead of picking up fast food on the way home, can help to reduce cravings in the long-term.
Replacing habits can be difficult, and some food cravings may be due to long-term habits. For instance, if someone gets fast food on their way home from work every day, this practice may reinforce their cravings.
In situations like these, it is best to start new habits. This can be as easy as taking a new route home from work or stopping at the park for a quick walk instead.
For cravings at home, it may help to take a walk around the block, take a shower, or even call a friend. These things may help distract a person from their craving long enough for it to subside.
A healthful diet does not include frequent hunger pangs. In fact, under-eating can make food cravings worse.
When the body is very hungry, it may crave more calorie-dense foods than usual, including fried and processed foods.
Instead of waiting for intense feelings of hunger, it is better to have a regular pattern of meals and healthful snacks planned throughout the day to avoid potential cravings.
For some people, completely avoiding the food they crave may make these cravings worse. This can lead to overeating or feeling miserable without that food. In this case, it may be better to satisfy the cravings with a small, portion-controlled treat.
It can help to put this treat at the end of a healthful habit, such as going for a walk or completing an exercise routine.
If a person is prone to binge eating, a better option is to replace the craving altogether.