Feeling guilty after eating a second piece of chocolate cake? I know the feeling.
Sometimes the sugar cravings are so strong that you feel like you just cannot help yourself. And then you end up feeling guilty and promising yourself that you’ll quit sugar and do an extra workout to make up for it.
I think most of the girls can relate! So first we are going to have a look at what causes sugar cravings and then I’ll give you some tips on how to stop them.
WHAT CAUSES SUGAR CRAVINGS?
Before we even think about how to stop sugar cravings, it’s good to understand why you get them in the first place.
When you eat foods such as carbohydrates and sweets, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel good. These are called dopamine and serotonin. You also get a release of endorphins from these carbs.
If you have sugar cravings, it often means that your body is searching for that feel-good rush again because your serotonin levels are low. This is usually why girls often gorge on chocolate after a breakup, as they feel that chocolate will give them a satisfying feeling.
While you may have a short satisfaction, the consequences of eating too many sweet foods can be harmful to your blood sugar levels, mood, and general wellbeing.
It’s important to work on increasing your serotonin levels overall and replace sugar-rich foods with healthy alternatives.
Menstrual Cycle Cravings
I’m sure I’m not the only woman who has chocolate cravings just before and during my cycle. They’re the strongest cravings of them all!
Have you ever noticed that sometimes PMS symptoms such as cravings, sore breasts and cramping are worse some months than others? The reason behind this is due to inflammation. If you have had more inflammation in your body that month, cravings and other PMS symptoms will be stronger.
Inflammation can be caused by things such as stress, being busy, not getting enough sleep, poor gut health, eating foods that don’t agree with you, alcohol, drugs, etc. One important thing to know is that overeating and binge eating also cause a huge amount of inflammation in your body.
So it’s important to take care of yourself in all of these areas to prevent sugar cravings and also just to improve your general health!
HOW CAN YOU KEEP SUGAR CRAVINGS UNDER CONTROL?
Stopping sugar cravings is not as simple as flicking a switch in your brain. But, there are many things that you can do to improve them over time.
Here are some of my tips on how to stop sugar cravings.
Get more sleep
Lack of sleep can be linked to many health issues, and constant sugar craving is one of them.
Your body balances your blood sugar when you are asleep, and also manages your hormones that are responsible for insulin, appetite and fat storage. When you don’t get enough sleep, your blood sugar levels can be all over the place and those sugar cravings will increase.
Do some exercise
We all know that chocolate makes us feel good when we eat it. But did you know that exercise gives you the same endorphin release?
While you may not have time to do a 30-minute run in your lunch break, a brisk walk around the block is still great. Once you build up a routine, your body will enjoy the exercise endorphins and forget about wanting sugar.
When you are stressed, you are more likely to eat emotionally. This means reaching for those foods that make you feel comfortable – chocolate is a common one. Try to reduce stress as much as you can.
The good news is that there are some supplements you can take to help with your sugar cravings. Remember though that while supplements can help, doing the things I mentioned above will help a LOT more!
The B vitamin levels in your body can decrease because of stress and eating too many carbohydrates. By taking a B vitamin supplement you are likely to find that you will have more energy and stop searching for a sugar boost.
L-Glutamine is a the most abundant amino acid in your body, and it is necessary for a LOT of functions. When your blood sugar is low, glutamine easily converts to glucose. As glutamine is a building block of protein, it can help stop sugar cravings because it converts to glucose so fast.
BONUS – it’s also amazing your gut health and strengthening your gut wall!
Taking small doses of Chromium will balance your blood sugar levels. But, I do not recommend taking this without consulting with your doctor first.
Drink lots of water
I often talk about the importance of drinking water. Making sure your body is hydrated throughout the day will help to reduce food cravings. It also helps with general wellbeing and to clean out toxins from your body, so make sure you’re drinking enough.
Be prepared for when you are hungry
It is always a good idea to eat when your body tells you its truly hungry because undereating can make cravings worse. But if you do not have any healthy options around, it can be easy to grab something quick (like a chocolate bar).
Being prepared for hunger pangs by having some healthy snacks on hand will help you resist the urge of heading to the vending machine.
WHAT FOODS STOP SUGAR CRAVINGS?
Rather than grabbing a chocolate bar when you have a 3 pm sugar craving, try reaching for these foods that stop sugar cravings instead.
Since fruit is naturally sweet, it is a wonderful way to satisfy those sugar cravings. Fruit allows you to get that sweet taste that you are yearning for, all while being healthy and good for your body.
While there are many different kinds of fruit to choose from, here are some great options.
Berries are lovely and sweet, but they are actually low in sugar due to their high fiber content. They are very nutritious and high in antioxidants. Berries make a great substitute for candy when you are watching a movie.
Dates are well-known for their nutritious properties and are high in iron, fiber and potassium. You only need two or three at a time to stop sugar cravings as they are so sweet, so it is a great idea to keep a small container in your handbag or desk drawer.
Prunes are high in fiber and sorbitol. They are a great healthy alternative and can assist with constipation problems.
- Mangoes and Grapes
Even though they are not as nutritious as the fruits listed above, mangoes and grapes have a higher sugar content. This means that they will really hit the spot when that sugar cravings strike.
Proteins and Good Fats
Not getting enough proteins and good fats and overcompensating with processed carbohydrates can be a big cause of sugar cravings. Carbohydrates are an easy energy source, but they can wreak havoc with your blood sugar levels. Eating more proteins and good fats will help balance out sugar levels. They will also stop you from feeling hungry when you are really not.
Some proteins and good fats that can help with sugar cravings include:
While vegetables obviously don’t taste sugary at all, they are an excellent source of nutrients for your body. By bulking up your meals with more veggies, you will feel fuller during the day. Try keeping some carrot or celery sticks on hand for when you do have a craving. While they won’t completely satisfy, you’ll feel better for putting something healthy in your body.
AND HOW DO YOU STOP SUGAR CRAVINGS?
Do you suffer from sugar cravings? Or have you in the past? I would love for you to share your experiences with other girls!