Food/ Weight Loss

13 Easy Ways to Quit those Sugar Cravings

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Sugar Cravings are those little devils we all hate. They creep up on us unexpectedly, and we are constantly battling them with our willpower.

We all need sugar in various forms and perhaps more at certain times of the day. The problems arise when we just don’t have the strength to ignore them.I think we can all hold our hands up to that at some point: some of us every single day struggle with sugar.

Like any cravings, Sugar Cravings can be controlled.

For many of us,  cravings can be vastly reduced over a couple of weeks once you start to shift onto a healthier eating plan. For others it may take a little longer.

Sugar in most forms is extremely addictive, and regularly cutting back your intake can come with some withdrawal symptoms, but damn –  you’ll be amazed at yourself once you get through it.

          Help, I can’t stop craving chocolate every evening …

There is always hope when it comes to breaking away from the Sweet Stuff, but just remember that it is much more complicated with food as sugar can be found everywhere, and is mostly hidden, or listed under different names on packaging information. Always Read The Labels!

Ask yourself the question, why do you need to cut back on sugar?
Weight Loss, Diet, Health Issues? It’s really important that you have a reason to cut back or completely cut out because it gives you a direction, a purpose, a reason … and a definite Starting point.

Are you ready to walk away from the cookie jar?

13 Brilliant Ways To Telp You Crush Your Sugar Cravings

1. Start Eating more Protein at Every Meal

Adding more protein to every meal is a great way to help reduce your sweet cravings. Proteins take a lot of time and energy to digest, and so keeps you feeling fuller for longer, so you’ll end up needing to eat less or less often. Protein doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels like carbohydrates do.

When you eat carbohydrates (which are sugars), your blood sugar levels are in a constant state of highs and lows which can have a wide range of side-effects.

Replacing them with protein will allow your body to regulate sugar absorption more steadily.

In addition, if you start eating more protein along with engaging in regular exercise you will help build more muscle, which in turn will burn more calories and help with weight loss/toning.

2. Never Skip a Meal

Don’t skip your meals! Why? Because it can lead to binge-eating and weight gain!

Most people who opt to go on a ‘diet’ think that by skipping meals they will reduce their calorie intake and therefore lose weight, Wrong!

Going down this road just helps you start bad habits that make you gain weight.  This happens all the time even with my own kids! Not that they are overweight, but kids being kids tend to all have a sweet tooth, and by eating loads of junk can often put them off their meals, especially the morning after at breakfast.

Always make time to even eat some fruit, nuts or other healthy snacks before you leave home.

If your metabolism runs low (low blood sugar) because you are skipping meals, it will leave you feeling hungrier during the day, giving you the tendency to overeat. Like good behaviour, create good healthy eating habits otherwise you will more likely end up binge eating, have late-night sugar cravings and gain more weight.

instead of thinking about skipping meals, try eating much smaller healthier meals regularly throughout the day which in turn will keep your metabolism high, keep your hunger away and help you lose weight at the same time.

3. Watch out for those Hidden Sugars

Image by SugarScience

I bet if I gave most of you a selection of foods from your own home, be it in a packet, tin or jar you would not be able to tell me correctly which ones have added (hidden) sugar and which ones don’t.

We love the taste of ‘sweet’ and it’s addictive: so we buy more and eat more.

Sugar comes in all types of guises when processed into our regular foods, and is not always easy to spot. There are many surprising culprits that you might never think include sugar.

As we try to avoid sugars in our foods, many food manufacturers have started disguising the sugar in their products. This makes it even harder for us to keep tabs on how much sugar we are actually consuming.

According to the University of California, added sugar is hiding in 74% of our packaged foods, yikes! Like me, you probably tend to think that added sugar is mainly found in things like biscuits and cakes, but it is also found in loads of our favourite savoury foods too such as bread and sauces. Even some products promoted as ‘Healthy’ have way too much sugar.

Did you know there are at least 61 different names for sugar, of which any one could be listed on your ingredients label!

            I’ve been off sugar for about a week and I have the most debiliating cravings.
All I can think about is sugary treats. What can I do to lessen the cravings?

4. Eat the Right Carbs

The term ‘Carbs’ is probably one of those diet buzz-words you hear about daily, but do you actually know what it refers to? What does eat the right carbs mean?

Carbs or Carbohydrates are sugars that our body converts into glucose, otherwise known as blood sugar, which then gets stored for energy. There are generally two types of carbs, simple and complex. Try to learn to recognize the good from the bad and make better choices.

When we talk about bad carbs, we are usually referring to simple carbs, which our body absorbs really quickly. These are then stored, but if not used quickly will get converted into fat.
Carbs have been given a special measurement called the Glycemic index.  The Glycemic Index is a way of classifying how quickly carbs in foods and drinks raise blood sugar levels over a period of around 2 hours. This is now the preferred method instead of just stating simple or complex.

Glucose or white bread are used as a reference, with a score at the top of the scale with 100.

If the carbs you eat have a high GI (Glycemic Index) then once absorbed they will tend to raise your blood sugar levels, which makes you feel tired and hungry.

5. Boost your Sleep, and help Quash those Cravings

It’s a fact that most people don’t get anywhere near a healthy 7-8 hours sleep. Being deprived of sleep can cause many health problems, with one being an increase in cravings for sugary and unhealthy foods.

Set a time for going to bed, and a time for lights out and sleep, then stick to this daily.

Researchers from UC Berkeley produced a study clearly showing that sleepless nights have a direct impact on our brains, and make us more likely to crave sugary snacks rather than the healthier options. Studies have found a direct link between insomnia and an increased appetite for sweet and salty foods.

Night Night, and not so Sweet Dreams.

HAVING SUGAR IN YOUR DIET IS NOT A BAD THING, AS LONG AS YOU EAT PLENTY OF FIBRE WITH IT, WHICH HELPS YOUR BODY REGULATE THE ABSORPTION OF SUGARS. SO, UP YOUR INTAKE OF FRESH FRUIT.

6. Exercise may Help Lower Your Cravings

Taking part in regular exercise is a great way to help you combat those cravings. The sugar you eat is stored in your liver. As you exercise, depending on the intensity, glucose is released into the blood for use by your muscles, rather than being converted into fat when your livers sugar storage capacity has reached its limits.

Insulin, a very important hormone for regulating blood sugar in your body gets released in high quantities when your eat simple sugars. When this happens your body switches off its fat burning process so that the consumed sugars can be used for energy. The Insulin ensures all that sugar gets delivered into your muscles, but once they are full, any excess sugar is converted into fat just like from the liver.

As your blood sugar levels reduce, either by being used by the muscles for energy or being converted into fat in the liver your body, insulin production in your body is meant to stop, but sometimes production remains active. This, in turn, reduces your blood sugars even further causing an immediate appetite for sugars, causing you to eat more food.

So there you have it, start exercising and reducing those cravings, otherwise you may start putting on weight.

7. Quit Sugar-Heavy Drinks

Image by SugarScience

The worst drinks for sugar content are not always the most obvious.

Sure, we all know that fizzy drinks such as coke and lemonade are bad for you, but so are others such fruit Juice, Sports Drinks, Flavoured Coffees, non-dairy milk and smoothies.
Sugar consumed in any of these types of drinks is absorbed really quickly. If it does not get used by your muscles, then it will eventually get turned into fats.

Stop drinking fizzy drinks and swap them either with plain water or add a squeeze of fresh orange or lemon for flavour.

It’s the Fructose in these drinks that really causes the problems.

Check out this article from TheRenegadePharmacist about what happens when you consume a can of coke. Will you ever have another?

8. Cravings Calling: Spot Your Weaknesses

This one is easy! Remove all the sweets/chocolates/cakes and other sugary treats from your house, office, car and … Bedroom.

If you can see them, you’ll be tempted! so, just get rid of them, give them away to someone else or ask someone else to hide them away.

If you have a need for something sweet at certain times of the day, make sure you pack a healthy alternative such as fresh fruit, vegetables or nuts.

If you suffer from evening cravings, if it ain’t there you can’t have it. Do something else to occupy your mind like watching a film, reading a book or playing a game.

The less you have, over time the less you will need it.

9. Hydration – Drink plenty of Water

An average person might lose up to 10 cups of water in a day through urination and sweat, although you might never think it was that much. Obviously, you also gain back some water from drinking and eating.

Deciding how much to drink is a difficult one; not too much and not too little. As you dehydrate, be it through exercise or heat your blood sugar levels will rise because although your blood now has a lower percentage of water, the amount of sugar remains the same, but is now more concentrated because of this.

Remember what we said earlier? high blood sugar levels cause a rise in insulin and eventually lead to you needing something sugary to eat or drink. It’s a vicious circle that needs to be broken.
Lesson: Stay Hydrated.

10. Eat plenty of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

Video from SugarScience

Not easy if you hate your greens as it were, but there is a very important reason why you need to eat your fruit and veg. Most sources of sugars (even from fruits) are eventually broken down (not all of them) and follow your bodies natural energy pathway.

The main sugar in fruit is Fructose, but the quantities are much much smaller than that in say a can of coke.

Some fresh fruits are very high in sugar such as grapes and bananas, whereas others are very low such as lemons. Also, dried fruits have very high sugar content because they are concentrated, and are sometimes referred to as fruit candy. Best try to avoid dried fruits.

Fruits and vegetables are also high in fibre, which has the ability to help slow down the rate at which sugars can enter your blood. To consume the same amount of sugar as in a can of coke, you would need to eat several apples one after the other! Could you do that?

I think you would be full after eating one, which is the main point here: you are less likely to be hunting down more to eat, you’ll have less sugar in your blood, lower levels of insulin and no urges for more sugar.

Lesson: Eat plenty of vegetables and low sugar fruits to help reduce those sugar cravings

11. Eat some Healthy Fats

For many years, fats have been to blame for most of our health issues such as weight gain and high cholesterol, but in reality, it’s our high-sugar, low-fat diets that are the leading cause.
Our bodies need fats to function for energy, to help our bodies absorb certain vitamins and provide insulation and protection to our organs.

Yes, if you have a diet high in fat you may end up gaining weight, so check the labels and learn to be aware of the different types of fats.

Eat foods rich in Mono and Polyunsaturated fat, and low in saturated/trans fats and cholesterol from animal-based foods.

12. Check out Supplements for Nutrient deficiencies

When trying to lose weight or cut those sugar cravings, the first things you will try to avoid are sugars and carbs. Vitamin supplements can help!.

There are several available which are said to help balance your blood sugar levels so you don’t get hungry again after eating, and some even help with breaking down fats.

A lack of B vitamins, for example, can make you feel like reaching out for the carbs. Taking a B complex can help improve the way your body breaks down carbohydrates.

13. Try some Sweet Alternatives

You love SWEET right! 

Hey, it’s not all bad: there are some great sugar alternatives you can use if you really need a fix.

Check out Stevia via LiveScience, which is about 200 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar! and Xylito via Xylitol.org, which is a sugar alcohol found in many fruits and vegetables, both of which are great for using in baking, along with ripe bananas and cooked sweet potatoes. What about making your own sweet snacks using fruits like raisins and dates. These fruits are crazy sweet so no need to add any extra sugar.

There are many natural sugar substitutes available, and the great thing is that most of them are whole fruit and vegetables. The added bonus of using these instead of sugar is all the fantastic nutrients and fibre. Bananas are the main choice, but there are loads of other really sweet fruits like pineapple and mango. There is one catch: obviously using these instead of adding standard table sugar will make for some interesting cooking. Just play around with different combinations until you find something you like.

 
Want to know the Nutrient Content of the Foods your are Eating? Find out here at InFood

 

Did you find this article useful?

What other ways have you tried to cut your sugar cravings – and Did they Work or Fail?

Let us know in the comments below, or if you have any questions – feel free to ask, thanks 🙂

 

Disclaimer:

Here at The Healthy Insider I suggest that if you have any current underlying Medical or Health issues, that you consult your Doctor or Medical Practitioner prior to making any Dietary or Lifestyle changes with an aim of weight-loss or improving fitness.
The information contained in this website is here to help improve your knowledge around Health, Fitness, Exercise, Weight-Loss and Healthy Eating and is not provided to replace any kind of medical or healthcare advice. Deciding to make changes to your health and lifestyle based on any information provided is taken at your own risk.
As a previously qualified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor, I am simply offering information on what I feel would be beneficial to my readers. I welcome any comments, suggestions, or correction of errors.

 

Image Credits:
Eating Cake by MikesPhotos is licensed under CC0

Added Sugar Infographic by SugarScience is licensed under CC0

Featured Image Credit:
Eating Cake by MikesPhotos is licensed under CC0

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