- Having problems keeping your sweet tooth under control? Here's a few tips to help keep those terrible sugar cravings at bay.
Ever wonder why that Danish or sugary breakfast cereal leaves you feeling hungry in just a couple of hours and sometimes even hungrier than you were before you ate? Have you ever found yourself reaching for a soda or a candy bar just to get you through the afternoon?
If you find yourself constantly reaching for sugary snacks throughout the day, you're not alone. Many individuals struggle on a consistent basis with the desire to have sugar. The problem with eating simple carbs and sugars is that most of the time it contains no nutritional value, and it can severely impact blood sugar. Simple carbohydrates and sugary snacks can provide short-term hunger relief and energy, but will end up leaving you hungry once again and craving even more.
Below are a few tips to help you fight the urge to give in to that sweet temptation when the moment strikes"¦
Eating often and frequently throughout the day will keep your blood sugar stable and prevent hunger spikes that often lead to grabbing a quick, and usually, unhealthy choice.
Try chewing gum
Research has proven that chewing gum can actually reduce cravings. The simple motion of chewing can help appease the brain when snack time is calling. There are also numerous sugar free gum flavors that can give the sensation of sweet without sacrificing any calories.
A common reason we eat or feel hungry is simply because we're bored. Staying active is one of the best ways to combat sugar cravings. When you're craving something, get up and move around, or focus on another task.
Just say no
Going cold turkey may be the best way for some people to cut down on sugar cravings, while others do best to taper down on how much sugar they take in. Cutting out carbs and sugars completely can be tough; especially for the first 48-72 hours when withdrawal symptoms such as hunger pangs, fatigue, and mild headaches can make sticking to the plan more challenging. But after the first few days, many people find that their cravings for sugar almost completely diminish, their taste buds have adjusted, and they are satisfied with less.
Go for quality over quantity
If you must splurge on something sugary, choose a delicious option to your liking and savor every bite. But try to keep it as small as possible. For example, opt for a small, rich flavored piece of candy or truffle versus a large-sized candy bar. Sometimes indulging just a bit is all you need to kick the craving. However, choosing a king-sized candy bar is only going to be a lot harder to put down once you've had a bite.
Combining foods can be a great option if you find yourself unable to stop eating after having one small piece of candy or a single cookie. Combining a food you are craving with a healthier option such as a few nuts or a piece of fruit may be a great alternative. For example, mixing a few chocolate chips with a handful of nutrient rich almonds may help turn a chocolate craving into a much healthier snack choice.
Marketing strategies for food companies are now geared more than ever towards advertising that their products are healthier and better for you. However, many times, product packaging that advertises on the label "fat free" and "low fat" still contains high sugar content and sometimes more sugar to increase flavor. Always read the nutritional label and ingredients on the back of the product so that you know how much sugar you are consuming.
Keeping healthy foods nearby and sugary, junk food out of sight will help you to make smarter food choices and avoid picking the not-so-smart choice when a sudden craving strikes. If its not there, you won't eat it.
Did you know that sometimes feeling hungry could just be a sign of dehydration? The body needs an adequate amount of water intake to function properly and maintain blood pressure and blood flow. The body will get water from wherever it can, even from food, if not enough fluids are consumed. Not to mention, water fills up the stomach, which helps cravings and hunger subside.
Some studies have actually shown that caffeine consumption can increase blood sugar levels. Large amounts of caffeine may actually impair insulin action and thus can cause blood sugar spikes after meals. And naturally, once blood sugar has spiked, it must also fall back down, resulting in hunger and food cravings. So, it just as important to watch how much coffee you drink as well as what you put in it.
Give in a bit
There's no need to deny yourself some small food indulgences every once in a while. Enjoying a fun-sized candy bar or a small cookie on occasion is certainly okay. Having a little bit of what you enjoy from time to time may help you not feel so denied when trying to eat healthy and avoid excess sugar.
Using a few, or even just one, of these tips can help you better fight hunger and keep you from craving sugar throughout the day. Give them a try, and you just might find yourself breaking free from sugar captivity!