Curbing Those Sugar Cravings
Sugar in moderation is the best kind of sugar. You get to enjoy your treat or carb loaded meal, but then move on! When we eat too many sugary foods it causes serotonin (happy hormone) levels to increase in our bodies, wanting and constantly craving MORE!
Where does most of our sugar consumption come from in our diet?
Breads / Pasta
Sweetened milk products - yogurt, ice cream
Where does most of our SNEAKY sugar consumption come from in our diet?
Pasta sauce (Check the label - there usually is a lot of sugar added)
Salad dressings / meat marinades
Dried fruit (because the water has been removed from the fruit due to the drying process - it increases the sugar concentration...so if your eating a handful of dried fruit pieces - it probably contains more sugar than a piece of fruit)
There are many reasons why we crave sugar...these are what I have found to be the most common between myself and clients. Do any of these sound like you?
Imbalanced diet - You might not eat a well rounded diet and may be low in protein, healthy fats, and fiber when then give your body low blood sugar swings that impact your cravings.
Emotional stress - If you are an emotional eater, then 9/10 times you sway towards sugary or carb loaded options. These will make you feel good in the short run (hello serotonin again!), but in fact they cause you to create an unhealthy bond between food and emotion. So when your depressed or stress your body will begin to crave those sugary foods.
Lack of sleep - We tend to make poor choices when tired.
Fasting diets / not eating enough calories- If we are not consuming enough calories throughout the day, then our bodies will begin to crave food. 9/10 times you will crave sugary / carb type foods because it't the bodies easiest way to get a quick energy fix.
Using substitute sweeteners too often - Trying to cut out sugar, but find your using more fake sweeteners in your coffee to get the flavor you want? Zero-calorie sweeteners can alter your sensitivity to sweet - - actually many brands of zero-calorie sweetener replacements have a stronger sugary taste (again because it is artificial) which can lead to more cravings of that taste.
Top 10 Tips To Limit Sugar In Your Diet To Lower Cravings
1. Be aware of your emotions - Ask yourself what your feeling after eating an overly sugary treat or meal (remember past is processed in our bodies the same way sugar is!). Being aware of why your eating something is a HUGE step when it comes to emotional eating. Are you eating it because you just want to OR are you eating it because your sad/bored/lonely and you feel better after you eat it.
2. Get your sleep - not only is this important for you to function throughout the day, but it is important to be well rested so you make better decisions when it comes to food. When we are tired we tend to crave more comfort type foods (especially carbohydrate loaded meals!)/
3. Eat a well balanced diet - when your forming your plate at meal times always remember to have: lean protein, healthy fat, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. FACT - eating high carb meals and sugary snacks lead to dips in the blood sugar which will in fact make you hungrier quicker and crave more of what you just had.
4. Read food labels - read the sugar content (where the sugar comes from and how much per serving). Start to compare food brands and find the ones that have no sugar or less added sugar.
5. Don't deprive yourself - when you have a healthy balanced life (living the 80% healthy balanced/ 20% indulgences like I talk about with my clients) you won't crave sugar as much because your body and mind will be satisfied with what you just had. You won't have guilt for eating and enjoying your treat. Having a healthy relationship with food is HIGHLY IMPORTANT to live a healthy and happy life.
If you struggle with a healthy relationship with food OR you find your struggling to cut off the sugar after a weekend away or holiday - then don't use SUGARY TREATS as a reward (especially if you use a reward system when you hit a goal or have a good month). Instead treat yourself with something that will benefit from (your body and mind/emotions are connected). Treat yourself with:
- a massage
- a workout outfit
Here is a link if your interested in learning more about reading food labels and what the sugar content means (especially added sugar):
Meg DeSalvo Fit