One of the main contributors to the rising problem of obesity and diabetes is excessive consumption of sugar. Although a lot of people are aware of the consequences of high sugar consumption, they still don’t change their ways. Sometimes, you just can’t. It’s easy to get addicted to sugary foods, and once you’re in that zone, it’s hard to get out.
Even if you don’t think you’re addicted to sugar, take a good hard look on your daily routine. Do you put sugar in your morning beverage? Have a soda once a day? A bit of ice-cream after dinner doesn’t hurt, right? The truth is that it all adds up. All of the things mentioned here have a lot of sugar, more than you think. It’s estimated that on average, Americans consume more than 71 grams of sugar daily which is a lot! The main culprits are sugary drinks which a lot of people drink without hesitation.
OK, so sugar is a big issue, but what should one do about it? As someone who’s been through this, it’s not easy. One can easily get addicted to sugary foods and drinks and then there’s no coming back. People who eat a lot of sugary foods will even have headaches if they go a day without them. So, in this scenario, given we know how sugar is bad for us, what should we do? Here are some steps you can take to reduce your sugar cravings:
Try sweeteners for starters
When people start a weight loss program, they’re told to cut down on junk food, not eliminate it entirely as a start. It’s a similar case here for sugar. If you try to completely eliminate sugar from your life, you will end up unsuccessful. It might work for a few days but you’ll eventually come back to your old habits and nothing will have changed. Therefore, one should always try to start slow.
Instead of completely getting rid of sugar from your life, try some alternatives instead. We crave that sweet taste when we consume sugary drinks or snacks, and that can be easily replaced using artificial sweeteners. Keep in mind that these sweeteners are there for the time being to make the transition from unhealthy sugary foods to the much more healthy whole foods. Try using a sweetener in your morning cup of tea or coffee, perhaps drink an artificially sweetened drink with no sugar, it’ll make a lot of difference.
As mentioned above, sweeteners are just an intermediate step in order to help you reduce sugary foods. What you really need to focus on is controlling portions. It’s really easy to binge-eat, especially in the case of sugary foods. Foods containing a high amount of sugar are digested quickly by the body and converted to energy really quick as well. That’s why you never really feel full after eating a snack and after a few hours, you start wanting more.
What fuels a person’s desire for more sugar is the initial consumption of sugar. If we limit the initial helping of sugar, and also make it harder to get seconds, then it’ll help a lot. It will be difficult in the beginning, but it gets easier as time passes, especially with the sweeteners tip mentioned above.
Instead of just reaching out for a snack after a meal or at some random time, try to make your sugar indulgences more organized. Keep a set time where you’re allowed to eat a sugary snack and limit a certain portion of it. Say no to slices of cake, perhaps cut it down to half a slice. Just keep that one small portion to satisfy your sweet tooth and hide the rest of it somewhere.
Make sure to keep the rest of the stuff away in a place where it’ll be inconvenient for you to go for seconds. You don’t need a lot of sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth, it’s just your brain that makes you over-eat. Stick to a plan, control your portions and you’ll see significant changes to your cravings.
Eat Foods with Naturally occurring Sugar
You’ve probably heard someone tell you that natural sources of sugar are better than the highly processed sources we usually get sugar from. Sugar is sugar, and no matter where we get it from, it’s still the same and the effects are the same. However, the reason why it’s better to go for natural, unprocessed and whole-food sugar sources is that of the huge difference in nutritional content.
The most common example of naturally occurring sugar lies in fruits and vegetables. They have a lot of sugar, yet they’re considered healthy, why? It’s because these foods are also full of fibers, vitamins, minerals that help curb sugar cravings, and food cravings in general. The nutrients present in whole foods slow down the flow of sugar into the bloodstream and also regulate the release of dopamine into the brain. Therefore, you can satisfy and control your sugar cravings at the same time by switching to much healthier choices.
Eat more nutritious Foods
Another reason why people have sugar cravings is due to the lack of minerals in their diet. The body compensates for the lack of minerals by craving extra sugar. Therefore, this has a simple fix. The most common mineral deficiencies are for Magnesium, Zinc, and chromium. These nutrients are required by the body for a large number of functions such as bone strength, heart health, and even regulating blood sugar and blood pressure.
Therefore, when you restrict these nutrients, it’s going to lead to more sugar cravings. Try foods such as brown rice, nuts, seeds, sweet potatoes, apples, and whole grains in order to fulfill your mineral requirement. Upon doing so, you’ll see an immediate change in your sugar cravings.
This might seem odd, but physical activity is known to reduce cravings. If you ever feel the need to grab a sugary snack, just take a walk for a few minutes. After the walk, you’ll see that you no longer crave that snack. Multiple studies have studied the effect of physical activity on sugar cravings. They all conclude that one can reduce their cravings as a result of moderately intense exercise.
You shouldn’t just take a walk everytime you crave sugar, instead, incorporate a workout regimen in your daily routine. This will help regulate your sugar cravings significantly. You’ll then be on the way to a much fitter, and a healthy lifestyle.