It's no secret that sugar in high amounts is unhealthy. We’ve known this for decades, yet we somehow always find ourselves consuming too much. The sugar content is not always obvious in some of our foods and drinks and most of the processed foods we eat have a lot of hidden sugars, so we are often unaware of how much we are actually consuming. And as excess sugar is often stored in the body as fatty tissue it means that most of our weight gain is caused by consuming sugar that is not utilised by our daily activity.
The problem is that sugar is highly addictive and there are literally millions of people around the globe hooked on the white stuff. So what can you do about it and will those sugar cravings ever go away?
Why do we have sugar cravings?
There are two main reasons why our bodies crave sugar. First of all is sugar’s addictive qualities. When you eat sugar your brain produces dopamine which is the compound that is associated with feeling pleasure and satisfaction as a reward. Your brain never gets tired of being rewarded and as such we can get addicted to sugar very easily.
The second reason you may have a sugar craving is due to an imbalance in your blood sugar. When you eat or drink foods with high sugar content, your blood glucose level spikes and your body produces insulin to bring your blood sugar down to safe levels. But usually, after the sudden rise in there will be a corresponding drop in blood sugar levels which results in your brain demanding more blood sugar - or what we experience as a craving.
How to make sugar cravings go away.
The good news is that you don't have to be a slave to sugar cravings. There are steps you can take to decrease them or eliminate them all together.
The best way to prevent cravings for sugar in the first place is by eating a balance diet. Energy releases from proteins and fats are slower and more consistent. As you eliminate sugar from your diet, your body will look for its energy source in these foods. Protein in particular helps the body feel satisfied for longer and the body will not seek to achieve a sugar rush.
Exercise can also help with sugar cravings. It does not have to be anything too intense, it could be a brisk walk. You just need enough physical activity to start releasing endorphins, which will stop the urges to eat sugar.
Add a multivitamin
Sometimes, mineral or vitamin deficiencies in the body may trigger a sugar craving, so making sure that you take a good multi-vitamin. This may help.
Sugar cravings may become more intense if you are sleep deprived. A good night sleep may prevent a sugar craving altogether.
Hunger can be the worst enemy for anyone trying to fight sugar cravings, but we can often mistake thirst for hunger. Keeping topped up with plenty of water can help here.
If you really must eat something sweet, go for fruit which should help keep sugar cravings at bay. They are full of nutrients and any naturally occurring sugars are within the fibres of the fruit, resulting in a slower release into the blood stream and fewer blood sugar spikes.
The bottom line
The most important thing to remember if you want your sugar cravings to stop is that the more you feed the sugar monster, the more it will come back for more. If you decide to cut down slowly or go cold turkey, the best way to make sugar cravings go away for good it to either cut out sugar or at least cut it down. It will not happen right away, but with consistent healthy choices, sugar cravings will be a thing of the past.
There are lots of blogs full of advice and help in cutting sugar out of your diet on this website, for example 7 Simple Ways To Cut Down On Sugar Today and if you’d like some extra help you can sign up to my 21 Day Sugar Detox Program here.