How to Stop Sugar Cravings

June 20, 2017

how to stop sugar cravingsWhat To Do About Sugar Cravings?

It’s officially the start of “sugar season” as the cooler weather sets in and holiday fun begins! It may start with a cookie at work, a latte with extra whipping cream or a piece of pumpkin pie. And these “bonus sugars” are in often addition to the health sugars or carbohydrates that you consume in your daily diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Before you know it, you are addicted to an extra daily serving of a sugary food.

Having a “sweet tooth” is joked about, but is no laughing matter. An occasional indulgence in a sweet treat is not the problem, but over-consumption is a problem. According to the American Heart Association, the average American tends to eat 22 teaspoons of sugar a day! This excess of sugar intake is linked to diabetes, obesity, chronic yeast infections, leaky gut syndrome and a whole host of other maladies. The recommended limit is about 6 teaspoons a day for woman and 9 teaspoons/day for men.

Why Do You Crave Sugar?

We all know that sweets taste good! Sugars or carbohydrates stimulate the release of the feel-good brain chemical called serotonin. The sugars also cause the release of endorphins that cause you to temporarily feel calm and relaxed. Rewarding ourselves with more sweet treats reinforces these feelings!

How Does a Sugar Craving Develop?

If you tend to over-consume foods with sugar or carbohydrates, your blood glucose levels rise and become very high. Then your blood glucose levels crash and you may become irritable, shaky and/or tired. Your body craves more sugar to boost your blood glucose back up and the cycle restarts itself. Over time, your cells become numb to the insulin that you produce to handle these high blood glucose levels and you may become insulin resistant. This situation can contribute to high blood pressure, inflammation and weight gain around your abdomen.

How To Manage Sugar Cravings

Sugar cravings can be managed and reversed by the following steps. You’ll be able to function with more stable blood sugar and feel energized and grounded:

  1. Eat regular meals: Eat a meal or snack with a protein and good fats every 4-6 hours to keep your blood sugar in balance. 
  2. Eat fiber: Consume 35-45 grams of fiber/day for women and 40-50 grams fiber/day for men. Start adding the fiber slowly to avoid any bloating, gas or constipation.
  3. Eat real, whole foods: Avoid packaged or processed foods which are notorious for adding extra sugar; especially high-fructose corn syrup.
  4. Spice up your foods: Adding cinnamon to your morning oatmeal or a cup of tea is a great way to balance blood sugar levels. Add other spices or seasonings to salads, vegetables and meat to keep your taste buds active.
  5. Keep moving: A walk a day keeps the doctor away. Make sure exercise is a regular part of your daily activities to keep your blood sugar and hormones in balance.
  6. Use of sugar substitutes: Many products are now available, but simply switching out sugar for a sugar-substitute will not fix the underlying problems and may actually cause more serious problems. Occasional use of xylitol and stevia can be used without causing serious harm.
  7. Get enough sleep: Your body needs a good night’s rest; every night!

Guess how many sugar temptations are available at checkout counters? 90 candy bars and 40 sodas – yikes!

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REFERENCES:

American Heart Association: “Carbohydrates and Sugars.”

American Heart Association: “Carbohydrate Addiction.”

WebMD Feature: “Break the Sugar Habit.”

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