Beat those sugar cravings
We have all experienced sugar cravings at some point in our life! Everyone experiences these cravings differently and sometimes they can be hard to resist.
According to our most recent national nutrition survey, Australian’s consume on average 60 grams of sugar per day. That is a whopping 14 teaspoons of sugar a day! The majority of sugar we eat comes from junk and processed foods.
What is a sugar craving?
A sugar craving is an intense desire for a particular food which is high in sugar. They are often for junk foods and processed foods (you can also have them for fat or salt too!).
Reasons why we crave sugar
Hormone changes or imbalances
We use sugar as a reward system
Tips to beat those sugar carvings
Eat foods high in Magnesium
Do you ever wonder why you are craving that chocolate? Chocolate is a rich source of magnesium and maybe the reason you are craving it is that you are magnesium deficient. Before you race to buy that block of milk chocolate or hit the vending machine at work, you want to go for a dark chocolate (70% and above and preferably no flavour as they can be high in sugar). Other foods high in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, almond, brazil, cashew, hazelnut, pecan, peanuts, walnut, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, raw cacao, bananas, raspberries, and blackberries. Including foods rich in magnesium supports healthy blood sugar metabolism and clearance from the blood.
Drink plenty of water
One of the quickest ways to reduce sugar cravings is to make sure you are well hydrated. Your body may confuse dehydration with hunger. Consider drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated
Review your diet
Eat a fresh whole food diet which includes plenty of good quality protein, healthy fats, fruit, veggies, nuts, and seeds. Combining lean protein and healthy fats at meals helps to keep you fuller for longer and stabilise blood sugar levels. Sources of protein include beef, lamb, chicken, fish, beans, and eggs. Healthy fats include avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and salmon.
When we are stressed we sometimes make emotional food choices as comfort. Or we go for the sugary snack to give us the energy we need to get through the afternoon slump. Going for a walk, yoga, meditation, listening to music and deep breathing can all help reduce stress and help manage sugar cravings.
Keep a food diary
By keeping a food diary it can give you a better understanding as to why you are experiencing sugar cravings. Is it because you skip meals, don’t drink enough water, are your portions too small or you aren’t combining enough protein and fat at your meals. It also makes you very conscious of the food you are eating. Have you ever added up the amount of sugar you eat on a daily basis? Sometimes we don’t realise how much sugar we are actually eating.
If you are unable to control yourself when it comes to sugary snacks, its pretty simple don't have them in the house, in eyesight at your workplace and go through the confectionary free check out at the grocery store. It’s simply a case of out of sight out of mind!
Get some sleep
When we have had a bad nights sleep (thanks kids!) or not enough sleep it can leave us feeling tired. When we are tired we tend to crave sugar (or coffee!) for that quick energy hit. Poor sleep can also impact our hormones which control our appetite, impacting the choices we make and also how much we eat. Make sleep a priority and aim for 8 hours a night.
Don’t skip meals
Skipping meals can cause your blood sugar levels to drop, promoting hunger. This is when you are more likely to go for a sugary snack as it gives you a quick energy hit to keep you going. Eat regular meals throughout the day to help keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Avoid artificial sweeteners
When trying to cut back on sugar, many people think they are doing the right thing by using artificial sweeteners to satisfy their sweet tooth. However, they are designed to be sweeter than sugar and can condition our taste buds making us crave more sweet foods. Bottom line stay away from the artificial sweeteners.
When you crave sugar every day, it can be challenging to break the cycle of reaching for the sugary snack. However, making small changes can have an impact and help you beat those sugar cravings.