Cookies, cake, pie, candy, so many sugary treats tempt us to indulge. While an occasional sweet treat won’t do much harm, overloading on sweets can be both addicting and unhealthy.
Sugar is hiding in lots of the foods we eat too, including breads, pasta, cereal and condiments. Sugary foods initially spike blood sugar, which is then followed by the inevitable drop in blood sugar. This process leaves us feeling anxious, tired, without energy and craving even more sugar.
It’s recommended that we consume only 4 to 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. On average, we eat almost 43 teaspoons of sugar per person, per day!! Consuming large amounts of sugar creates inflammation and leads to a slew of health problems, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
So Why Do We Crave Sugar?
Our brains are hardwired to crave sweets. When food was scarce, our ancestors would jump at the chance to consume as much sugary foods as possible. These foods were high-calorie and prevented them from starving.
Consuming sugar activates the brain’s pleasure center, sending a dopamine signal, which prompts us to crave more and more of the sugary fix. And when we stop eating sugar, we tend to go through a withdrawal period, which causes irritability. Consuming sugar to stop these unpleasant feelings is when the viscous cycle can start, which some describe as being similar to a drug addiction.
You don’t have to be a slave to your sugar cravings, though. It will take a little bit of work, but you can kick sugar addiction to curb! Follow these steps to get started:
Load Up on Protein
Protein is an important part of our diet. Include protein as part of every meal and snack to keep your energy high and your body fueled for the day. Protein keeps you satisfied longer, which helps to keep the sugar cravings away. Because protein helps to reduce the rate of sugar absorption, it helps to prevent spikes in glucose levels.
Eat More Good Fats
Incorporating more good fats into your daily diet, may help balance blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings. Foods like almonds, avocados, coconut and olive oil and salmon are ideal. And as an added bonus, when you choose a snack with healthy fats before bed it will help you to sleep soundly through the night.
Don’t Skip Meals
Skipping meals is an invitation for sugar to rear its ugly head! Eat regularly to keep your blood sugar balanced. Most dietitians recommend eating every 3 to 4 hours to keep cravings at bay. If you’re going to be out, make sure to toss a healthy sugar-free snack in your handbag or car glovebox. Consuming regular meals and snacks will help stabilize blood sugar, balance metabolism, maintain muscle and control hunger.
Drink More Water
Drinking enough water is one the easiest and most beneficial things we can do for our bodies. Staying hydrated is an important element in squashing sugar cravings for good. Often times we confuse hunger pangs for our body’s desire for water. Water is a natural appetite suppressor. Reach for a glass first thing in the morning and throughout the day to help stop sugar cravings. To add some pizzaz to your water, add a drop or two of sugar-free Stevita Flavored Stevia Drops available in vanilla, toffee caramel and strawberry to your glass.
Hidden sugar is lurking in lots of products. When you’re shopping read labels so you know the ingredients of everything you’re putting in your body. If sugar is one of the first five ingredients listed, leave it on the shelf. Beware of alternative names for sugar like dextrose, fructose, galactose, glucose, lactose, maltose and sucrose. Avoid foods like white flour, table sugar, potatoes, white rice and pasta. Don’t forget to check the amount of sugar per serving as well. Each serving should be lower than 10g.
Staying active will help keep your mind of food and sugar. Instead of grabbing a cookie or donut when you’re bored, opt for a brisk walk instead. Working out will produce natural endorphins, which will stimulate energy in a better, healthier way than sugar; no sugar crash afterwards!
Giving up sugar doesn’t mean you have to give up the sweet flavor you crave. Choose stevia, an all-natural, sugar-free sweetener, instead of sugar to sweeten beverages and baked goods. Visit the recipes section of our website for inspiration.
I am not a doctor – All information and resources found on StevitaNaturals.com are based on the opinions of the author/s unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider.
If you are having a life-threatening emergency – Please, call 911.
The author/s of this site encourage you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.