The sugar habit is one of the toughest to quit. And the food industry isn’t trying to help us out. They add sugar to everything which can be addictive both physically and mentally. In excess, sugar can contribute to disease and an expanding waistline. So how do you kick the habit? Here are my favorite tips for getting over sugar cravings and dropping the sweet stuff habit for good.
Eat more protein –
A lot of times when we are craving sugar, the body just needs protein. A blood sugar imbalance leads to intense sugar cravings and protein is good for stabilizing blood sugar. If you are trying to kick your sugar dependence, you should make sure to include a good source of protein with every meal. Protein may be a piece of chicken, turkey, fish, dairy or eggs. Snacks should include a good source of protein as well. A focus on protein will help calm those nagging sugar cravings.
Choose carbohydrates with a low blood sugar impact –
There are certain carbohydrates that provide a slow and steady supply of sugar to the body. Most vegetables fall into this category. So eat up those leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, and brussel sprouts. Lentils and quinoa also have a low blood sugar impact. These foods promote stable blood sugar and can help reduce sugar cravings. Conversely, stay away from starchy options like bread, pasta, crackers and even potatoes as these turn quickly into sugar in the body. What happens when you eat these foods? Those sugar cravings kick up and next things you know, you ate an entire package of cookies!
Find healthy sweet substitutions –
Ok, let’s get real. No matter how much protein and spinach you eat, you are eventually going to want something sweet. Sugar desires are mental as well as physical. My favorite snack when I just need to indulge is simply a Medjool date with a nut. Dates are a much more natural form of sugar and can easily satiate your sweet tooth. Why the nut? The fat from the nut will slow the digestion of the sugar, meaning less of a spike in blood sugar that will help keep future sugar cravings at bay.
Stay away from artificial sweeteners –
One of the first things that people usually reach for when avoiding table sugar is an artificial sweetener. Here’s the problem with that. Studies show that artificial sweeteners upset blood sugar in the same way as table sugar! So what happens after you eat something sweetened with artificial sweetener? You want something sweet! I bet this wasn’t what you were going for. If you need to choose something that is sweetened by a no-calorie sweetener, choose Stevia which is more natural and doesn’t seem to have the same blood sugar impact. Smart choices like this will help you stay on track with your sugar goals.
Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night –
Yes, I just said that sleeping will help contain your sugar cravings. How does this work? Sleep deprivation will leave you groggy the next day that will likely leave you seeking sugar for quick energy. For years, research has shown that cravings for sweets go up as sleep quality goes down. A recent study by UC Berkley used actual brain scans to document the increased reward value associated with junk food after a bad night’s sleep. So if you want to cut back on sugar, a good night’s sleep is your new best friend.
Cutting back on sugar usually starts with a decision. Many people struggle when putting that decision into action. So next time you try to go easy on the sweet stuff, have a strategy. These tips will help you succeed with your sugar busting health goals!