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Sugar Cravings Defined

Causes of Sugar Cravings:

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Getting enough ZzZ’s is crucial to your health AND…appetite! But especially when you are tired or running on less than 6 hours of sleep, the only way to replenish your energy and glycogen stores is to eat more sugar. Whatever form it may be, its going to be used up rather quickly and keep having you come back for more.

How to Stop the Craving:

Make sure to eat every 3-4 hours (a balanced meal with non starchy veggie, protein and a healthy fat). Also, try going to bed earlier by turning off your phone/tv, read a book, or listen to some relaxing music. Sleep is key to life!

Sugar tends to be the molecule that the digestive tract seeks due to overgrowth of bacteria in your gut. Bad bacteria (versus good bacteria) can cause harm to your body because it is feeding off of processed foods such as candy, cane sugar, donuts, etc.

How to Stop the Craving:

Try taking a probiotic with at least 4-5 different strains and over 100 CFUs. Another idea would to do a natural cleanse such as Diatomaceous Earth, cell food drops or a detox tea made for the colon, liver and kidneys. This way, it will promote better bacteria after you cleanse (with the idea that you change your diet of course!)

If you tend to eat spaghetti (meat less) and a side of bread, you are sure to want a sweet afterward. All those noodles or bread with no fiber or protein is like a big bowl of sugar. Those carbs are absorbed fast and they do not keep you feeling full or satisfied. If you had protein, you would be less likely to crave sugar after than just having pasta.

How to Stop the Craving

You can have pasta in the right portion, but add protein to it. You need protein to keep you satisfied and also a healthy fat to absorb it better. Try eating veggie bowls or spaghetti squash or zoodles with turkey meatballs in place of noodles.

Was your snack a baked potato with sour cream? If you tend to eat spaghetti (meat less) and a side of bread, you are sure to want a sweet afterward. The sugar helps level off serotonin levels that are wearing off. All those noodles or bread with no fiber or protein is like a big bowl of sugar. Those carbs are absorbed fast and they do not keep you feeling full or satisfied. If you had protein, you would be less likely to crave sugar after than just having pasta.

How to Stop the Craving

You can have pasta in the right portion, but add protein to it. You need protein to keep you satisfied and also a healthy fat to absorb it better. Try eating veggie bowls or spaghetti squash or zoodles with turkey meatballs in place of noodles.

When you don’t eat enough, your body starts looking for fuel fast and may start craving sweets. As you know, sugar gives you quick energy, even though it’s not necessarily good energy. Most people who eat sugar get a high then a crash right after.

How to Stop the Craving

You may think you should just get Splenda in your coffee instead of sugar… but you are wrong! Artificial sweeteners might momentarily satisfy a sweet kick, but they trick your body into thinking it’s getting fuel when it’s not and can even make insulin levels rise. Your body soon goes looking for more calories in the form of, you guessed it, sugar, and you’re right back where you started.

Calories are the only thing that provides real energy, so eat a balanced meal with a healthy fat (such as macadamia butter on an apple).

Maybe every mid day crash you have had the last 4 years, you grab a Snickers bar, a granola bar, or some sweet tarts to give you energy? That same time 3:00 PM snack everyday just turned into a bad habit.

When something becomes habit, especially when it comes to food, you have to ask yourself: Are you even aware you’re doing it? Do you really need to be doing it? When you’re really hungry and you haven’t eaten enough throughout the day, breaking a 3:00 p.m. vending machine run is going to be tough. But if you start to eat more consistently throughout the day and get in enough and the right types of calories, then your defenses are up and it’s easier to change the habit.

How to Stop the Craving

One thing I always suggest that people do to change the habit is to go for a sweet herbal tea when they have a craving. This works particularly well for my afternoon chocoholics. I don’t mean sweet like adding sugar, but rather a naturally sweet tea such as apple spice or vanilla almond that has no calories and nothing artificial in it. I’m telling you, this works.

When you dine out or eat packaged, processed foods, your food has more sodium in it than you probably even realize. This usually remains true even when you’re eating something clean like grilled chicken and sautéed or steamed spinach from your fave “healthy” restaurant. However, they added a lot of marinade (AKA SALT!) to that food. Or maybe you just can’t put down the salt shaker…even on healthy treats like tomato slices.

How to Stop the Craving

The first step here is to be aware that this may happen to you. Then, the more you skip the chips or fries, the less you’ll want the donuts or cookies. When you eat more naturally salty foods like cheese or olives, your sweet cravings will lessen, and you’ll tend to go for naturally sweet snacks like herbal tea or fruit when that craving hits.

Eating too much fruit without a fat or protein. Unfortunately, sugar is sugar, and fruit has a lot of it. One serving (small apple, cup of berries) is 15 grams and a whole cup of mango has 24 grams. However, there are a lot of phytonutrients in it and fiber in fruit. Nonetheless, you HAVE to limit your intake. You cannot eat as much as you want of fruit. Even fruit smoothies, without protein, will just make you crash. If you were eating cucumbers or celery endlessly, you would not crash and get more water than anything else. High sugar fruit includes grapes, watermelon, bananas, dried fruit, cherries, pomegranate, tangerines, mangos, figs, pineapple, and cantaloupe.

How to Stop the Craving:

Make a smoothie with protein powder and choose 1/2 cup blueberries (lowest in sugar). Or try mixing 1/2 clementines with cottage cheese or Icelandic plain yogurt and add chopped almonds. This way, you get a fat, and protein which will help slow the digestion of the fruit.

 

Author
Meghan Doherty Clinical Nutritionist

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