How To Eliminate Sugar Cravings for Good, Says Science
Find yourself constantly craving something sweet? While it’s okay to indulge in a sweet treat every once in a while, having a constant sweet tooth can be rather bothersome, especially if you’re trying to watch what you eat. Sugar cravings can be difficult to overcome, leading to a cycle of craving sugar, eating it, and feeling good, which can be difficult to break. However, with the right strategies, you can eliminate sugar cravings for good. Here are some tips from the latest scientific research to help you overcome your sugar cravings once and for all.
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Understanding sugar cravings
Before you can eliminate sugar cravings, it’s important to understand what causes them. Sugar cravings are caused by a number of factors, including stress, hormonal changes, and poor diet. When we eat sugar, our brain releases dopamine, a chemical that makes us feel good. This creates a cycle of craving sugar, eating it, and feeling good, which can be difficult to break.
The role of stress
One of the biggest contributors to sugar cravings is stress. When we’re stressed, our body releases cortisol, a hormone that can increase our appetite for sugary foods. Finding ways to manage stress, such as through exercise or meditation, can help reduce sugar cravings.
The importance of a balanced diet
Another key factor in reducing sugar cravings is eating a balanced diet. When we eat too many processed foods and sugary drinks, our blood sugar levels spike and then crash, leading to cravings for more sugar. Eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help keep blood sugar levels stable and reduce sugar cravings.
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Tips for eliminating sugar cravings
1. Reduce your sugar intake gradually.
If you’re used to eating a lot of sugar, it can be hard to quit cold turkey. Instead, try reducing your sugar intake gradually. Start by cutting back on sugary drinks and processed foods, and gradually transition to a diet that is low in added sugars.
2. Make sure to feed your body well.
While it is good to reduce the number of added sugars in your diet, it’s still vitally important to be eating a balanced diet, which does include carbohydrates. A 2018 study in Nutrition Research actually found that high-protein and high-carbohydrate diets were able to reduce food cravings for those dealing with type 2 diabetes, meaning the body was well nourished and wasn’t craving a boost of energy (i.e. sugar) in order to compensate.
3. Stay hydrated.
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can also help reduce sugar cravings. When we’re dehydrated, we often mistake thirst for hunger, leading to cravings for sugary foods. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to help keep cravings at bay.
4. Get enough sleep.
Not getting enough sleep can also contribute to sugar cravings. When we’re tired, our body craves sugar for energy. Getting at least seven hours of sleep a night helps reduce sugar cravings.
5. Move your body.
Yes, getting that body moving can make a difference if you’re trying to eliminate those sugar cravings. One 2015 study published in PLoS One actually found that short bouts of exercise can help with reducing sugar cravings for people that are overweight. Participants of the study were tasked to do a 15-minute brisk walk, and after their workout, found their cravings for sugary snacks decreased. While further research is needed to make this claim, given that moving your body is beneficial for many aspects of life, it is definitely worth adding to your routine if it can help with eliminating those pesky cravings.
6. Find healthy alternatives.
Instead of reaching for sugary snacks when you have a craving, try finding healthy alternatives. Fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds are all great options for satisfying a sweet tooth without resorting to sugar.
7. Practice mindfulness.
Finally, practicing mindfulness can also help reduce sugar cravings. When we’re mindful, we’re better able to tune in to our body’s needs and identify when we’re truly hungry versus when we’re experiencing a sugar craving. Try practicing mindfulness meditation or deep breathing exercises to help reduce sugar cravings.
The bottom line
In conclusion, eliminating sugar cravings is possible with the right strategies. By reducing your sugar intake gradually, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, moving your body, getting enough sleep, finding healthy alternatives, and practicing mindfulness, you can break the cycle of sugar cravings and improve your overall health and well-being.
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