Are you addicted to sugar? This is a question I’ve asked myself quite often more. Sharing my experience how to Stop Sugar Cravings Once and For All
If you’ve found that munching sugary snacks just makes you crave more sugary snacks, you’re not alone. Eating lots of simple carbohydrates — without the backup of proteins or fats — can quickly satisfy hunger but give your body a short-term energy boost. they will leave you famished sooner and hence you will crave more.
Why do we crave sugar?
Sugar has an addictive hold on us. It tickles the pleasure centers in our brain, making us always crave more.
When we eat a food that contains sugar, a neurotransmitter (a fancy word for chemical) called dopamine is released in the brain. This is one of our “happiness” chemicals — it makes us feel good.
When we eat sugar frequently and in large amounts, our brain adapts and begins to require more sugar to get the same “feel good” response. This same dopamine process happens with other addictive substances such as cocaine and nicotine.
People who are prone to addictive behaviors often struggle to kick out the sugar. Our brain craves that happiness response and makes us think about those sugary foods until we can’t resist them anymore. Willpower can only last us so long.
Sugar cravings are one of our body’s ways of telling us it wants a “dopamine dose.” There are many other ways we can get our happy fix that are significantly healthier.
How to Stop Sugar Cravings Once and For All
- Eat regularly. Eat three meals and two snacks or five small meals a day. For many people, if they don’t eat regularly, their blood sugar levels drop, they feel hungry, and are more likely to crave sweet sugary snacks.
- Choose whole foods. The closer a food is to its original form, the less processed sugar it will contain. Food in its natural form include fruits and vegetables. Whole foods boost metabolism. Have such foods to curb sugar cravings.
- Have a breakfast of protein, fat and phytonutrients to start your day off right. Breakfast smoothies are ideal for this. The typical breakfast full of carbs, sugary or starchy foods is the worst option. This type of breakfast will not curb your sugar craving. Eating a good breakfast is essential to prevent sugar cravings.
- Try to incorporate protein and/or fat with each meal. This helps control blood sugar levels. Make sure they are healthy sources of each.
- Add spices. Coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and reduce cravings.
- Take a good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement, Vitamin D3 and omega 3 fatty acids. Nutrient deficiencies can make cravings worse and the fewer nutrient deficiencies, the fewer cravings. Certain nutrients seem to improve blood sugar control including chromium, Vitamin B3 and magnesium.
- Move your body. Exercise, dance or do some yoga. Whatever movement you enjoy will help reduce tension, boost your energy and decrease your need for a sugar lift.
- Get enough sleep. When we are tired we often need sugar for energy. As sugar counteract the exhaustion.
- Do a detox. Detox not only reset appetites but it often decreases sugar cravings. After the initial sugar cravings, which can be overwhelming, our bodies adjust and we won’t even want the sugar anymore and the desire will disappear.
- Be open to explore the emotional issues around your sugar addiction. Many times our craving for sugar is more for an emotional need that isn’t being met.
- Keep sugary snacks out of your house and office. It’s difficult to snack on things that aren’t there!
- Don’t substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar. Never depend on artificial sweeteners have wholesome food.
- Learn to read labels. Educate yourself about what you’re eating. Make it a habit to read the label. The longer the list of ingredients, the more likely sugar is going to be included on that list. Choose products with the least sugar per serving.
- Become familiar with sugar terminology. Recognize that all of these are sweeteners: Corn syrup, corn sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, honey, molasses, turbinado sugar and brown sugar.
- Sugar in disguise. Remember that most of the “complex” carbohydrates we consume like bread, bagels and pasta aren’t really complex at all. They are usually highly refined and act just like sugars in the body and are to be avoided.
- Take L-Glutamine, 1000-2000mg, every couple of hours as necessary. It often relieves sugar cravings as the brain uses it for fuel.
- Take a “breathing break”. Find a quiet spot, get comfortable and sit for a few minutes and focus on your breath. After a few minutes of this, the craving will pass.
- Distract yourself. Go for a walk, if possible, in nature. Cravings usually last for 10-20 minutes maximum. If you can distract yourself with something else, it often passes. The more you do this, the easier it gets and the cravings get easier to deal with.
- Drink lots of water. Sometimes drinking water or seltzer water can help with the sugar cravings. Sometimes what we perceive as a food craving is really thirst.
- Have a piece of fruit. If you give in to your cravings, have a piece of fruit, it should satisfy a sweet craving and is much healthier.