The average American consumes about 16 teaspoons more sugar per day than what is recommended. Sugar causes the brain to release serotonin, creating a natural high, and the endorphins leave us wanting more. Kicking a sugar addiction can be tough, but cravings can be curbed and eventually prevented with the following tips.
Limit caffeine. Caffeine increases blood glucose by 24%, leaving your body craving sweetness afterward.
Stay hydrated. The body needs water for blood to flow at the right pressure and maintains a feeling of fullness.
Exercise and sleep better. Exercise oxygenates the body and increases endorphins, the same great feeling created by sugar and sweetness. Plenty of sleep and exercising your body reduces tension, boosts energy, and lessens your need for a sugar rush.
Avoid foods labeled “fat free” or “low fat”. These contain more sugar than their full fat counterparts.
Reduce or eliminate processed foods. There is a great amount of sugar in processed food, even items such as “healthy” wheat crackers. Check the sugar content on labels before purchasing. Choose fiber-rich whole foods over refined treats.
Eat plenty of protein. Protein deficiency can lead to sugar cravings as body searches for an energy source. Make sure to get protein in every meal so body has fuel.
Cook with sweet spices. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove naturally sweeten food reducing cravings.
Eat fruits and sweet vegetables. Go ahead and eat something sweet, but make sure it is healthy. Sweet potatoes, podded peas, beets, and bell peppers can provide a quick energy boost when needed.
Use natural sweeteners. Sweeteners like brown rice syrup, palm sugar, and stevia will meet your craving for sweetness without too many calories. Artificial sweeteners do not curb cravings any less than real sugar.
Check your mineral levels. Magnesium deficiency can lead to intense sugar cravings, especially for chocolate. Recommended intake is 400mg per day. Good sources of magnesium include nuts, beans, spinach, and whole grains. Zinc deficiency can also cause cravings.
Intestinal imbalances can cause sugar cravings, so take a probiotic supplement to fill the gut with healthy bacteria.
L-glutamine supplements. This amino acid glutamine can reduce and even eliminate sugar cravings by leveling out blood sugar. Stress causes your body to become deficient in this nutrient and reach for sweet comfort foods. Take 100-500mg three times a day
If your Vitamin D is low, you may feel hungry all the time.
Make sure you are getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which help regulate brain function.
Find sweetness in life. Distract yourself until the sugar craving passes, since the more you resist, the quicker your cravings will disappear.
Enos CN, Deborah. “8 Tips for Fighting Sugar Cravings.” Health. LiveScience, 30 Nov 2011. Web. 26 Feb 2015.
Banks, Jacqueline Silvestri. “9 ways to eliminate sugar cravings.” Nutrition. Fox News, 11 Sep 2013. Web. 26 Feb 2015.
Martinac, Paula. “Supplements to Stop Sugar Cravings.” Healthy Eating. SFGate. Web. 26 Feb 2015.