6 Ways to Curb Sugar Cravings
Do you experience sugar cravings? Do you notice they occur at the same time every day? Sugar cravings are problematic for most of us, and when they arise, we reach for unhealthy simple sugars that are toxic to the body. By following these 6 tips, you can decrease your craving, stop eating sugar and move forward to eating healthier and feeling better.
- Eat whole grains.
Consuming whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, and barley provides a steady blood sugar that keeps you from having episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) that can accompany a simple carbohydrate diet, especially a diet filled with sugar and processed flour. Whole grains also have antioxidants and beneficial vitamins and minerals that can improve overall fatigue which is a main reason we reach for sugar.
- Eat plant protein at every meal.
Proteins slow down the digestive process, so complex carbohydrates are absorbed more evenly and slowly. This allows you to stay full longer, so you won’t have cravings after you’ve just had a meal. Plant-based protein is a better choice than animal protein because animal food (especially eggs) has a tightening effect on the pancreas which leads to less glucagon being released. Glucagon is an important hormone that elevates your blood glucose, so when it is not properly released, your blood sugar drops and cravings arise.
- Eat three regular meals.
Eating three meals a day at consistent meal times keeps your blood sugar stable and prevents you from reaching the point of severe hunger, which leads to binging and unhealthy food choices. Be proactive about keeping yourself from getting to that point by eating regular, healthy meals.
- Enjoy a naturally sweet flavor in meals and snacks.
Sweet vegetables like winter squash (kabocha, butternut, buttercup), onions, carrots, cabbage, and parsnips provide a naturally sweet taste that can help satisfy us and prevent the desire for sweetness in unhealthy foods. They also have a relaxing effect on the pancreas and body. Include temperate climate fruits like apples, pears or berries as snacks, or incorporate them into desserts when you crave sugar.
- Stop eating sugar.
The more sugar we consume the more we crave it. It’s best to stop all strong sweeteners (white and brown sugar, agave, and high fructose corn syrup) cold turkey and detox them from your body. Usually it will take 3-5 days for the sugar to leave your body and for your cravings to lessen. Eating sugar also causes your blood sugar to spike, so you feel great initially, but as your blood sugar bottoms out, you start feeling badly again and reach for a quick fix–sugar.
- Manage stress.
Not only does stress have a tightening effect on the body and pancreas, but it also leads to a generalized fatigue from an overly acidic condition. When we feel fatigued, we reach for sugar for a fast pick me up, but this effect is superficial and short-lived. Some of the best ways to manage stress include meditation, breathing exercises and enjoying time in nature.