The Best Tips on How to Beat Sugar Cravings
Eating too much sugar can lead to irritability, fatigue, weight gain, and a variety of negative health effects. But if you regularly experience cravings for something sweet, you know how hard it can be to beat sugar cravings.
In our guide on how to beat sugar cravings, we’ll cover:
- What causes sugar cravings?
- What to eat when craving sugar
- Foods that curb sugar cravings
- What deficiency causes sugar cravings?
What Causes Sugar Cravings?
Many factors lead to sugar cravings, including:
- Brain chemicals (carbohydrates release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin)
- Poor diet quality
- Hormonal changes
- Stress (consuming sugar releases endorphins that promote feelings of relaxation)
- Nutrient deficiencies (deficiencies in minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, and chromium can contribute to sugar cravings)
- Lack of sleep
The Best Tips on How to Beat Sugar Cravings
If you are trying to figure out how to beat sugar cravings, here are some of the best tips:
- Get Creative with Healthy Desserts — Experiment by making healthy desserts to satisfy your sugar cravings. Try dipping banana slices or berries into melted dark chocolate, making chia seed pudding, or making treats using the natural sweetness of dates. You can also make a sweet yet healthy trail mix with dark chocolate chips, walnuts, unsweetened shredded coconut flakes, and raisins.
- Eat Enough Protein — Research shows that eating enough protein may help reduce cravings.
- Get Moving — Wondering how to beat sugar cravings? Get moving! Call up a friend to go for a walk with you, take your dog for a walk, or head to a local park to stroll around. Moving your body and getting some fresh air is an amazing way to forget about sugar cravings and uplift your mood.
- Drink Enough Water — If you do not drink enough water, you may end up craving sugar when water is what you need. A study published by the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics found that individuals who increased their water intake lowered their sugar consumption by 5 to 16 grams.
- Watch Your Intake of Drinks — Along with drinking enough water, it is important to limit your intake of other drinks, such as juices, sweetened coffee, or sodas. Try adding fresh squeezed lemon or lime, cucumber slices, or frozen berries to your water to motivate you to drink more water.
- Chew Gum — Although further research is needed, chewing sugarless gum may help decrease sugar cravings.
- Give Up Sugar Entirely — For some people, giving up sugar completely is the only way they can avoid it. Although this approach may be too restrictive for some individuals, you may want to try giving up sugar to see how it affects you. Be aware that the first 48 to 72 hours will be the hardest as your body adjusts.
- Eat Regularly — If you wait too long between meals or snacks, you may increase your risk of opting for sugary, carb-rich foods.
- Reward Yourself — Did you opt for foods that curb sugar cravings rather than digging into a huge slice of cake? Consider rewarding yourself anytime you make a healthy food choice or move closer toward one of your wellness goals. A reward can be anything from a relaxing night yourself to a new workout outfit — whatever keeps you motivated.
- Get Support — Do you reach for food for comfort if you are lonely or stressed? Try finding a couple of trusted family or friends to turn to when you need support.
- Plan Ahead — Try meal planning for a week or two to see if having healthy meals and snacks already prepped helps you stay on track.
- Have Some Sugar! — Getting too restrictive with your diet can backfire, causing you to overindulge and lose track of your goals. The key is paying attention to portion sizes. Choose a fun-size candy bar, a small slice of your favourite cake, or your favourite cookie, and savour a small serving. Indulging in what you love and feeling satisfied can help you stay on track for the long term.
The Best Foods to Fight Sugar Cravings
Wondering what to eat when craving sugar? You may find that consuming nutrient-dense, whole foods help you naturally crave less sugar.
Here are some possible foods that curb sugar cravings:
- Leafy greens (spinach and kale contain thylakoids, compounds that may reduce sugar cravings)
- Fruit (oranges, bananas, apples, mangoes, pineapple, pears, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
- High-quality dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or more
- Chia seeds or chia seed pudding
- Dates or prunes
- Sweet potatoes
- Smoothies made with fresh or frozen berries, unsweetened yoghurt, avocado, and spinach
- Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha supply your gut with beneficial bacteria
- Whole grains such as old-fashioned oats, quinoa, millet, and barley
- A low-glycemic chocolate bar
- Coconut Oil
- Olives and olive oil
- Non Starchy vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage
- Unsweetened Greek yoghurt
Want More Tips on Healthy Eating or How to Beat Sugar Cravings?
Having dessert or a sweet treat can be an important part of a balanced diet. However, consuming too much sugar puts you at risk of a variety of health conditions.
If you are struggling with sugar cravings, try several of the tactics mentioned above to see which ones work best for you. It may take time to find out how to beat sugar cravings, but be patient as you learn how to find the right balance.