Do you ever feel like you just can’t stop eating sweets no matter how hard you try? If you experience sugar cravings, you might experience a feeling of lack of willpower or guilt. This happens to so many people today with added sugars and chemicals in most food.
We evolved to have a sweet tooth, as it played a vital role in human evolution. The problem is the overconsumption of sugar that can lead to negative impacts on your health, including cardiovascular disease and Diabetes II. Sugar cravings aren’t just a lack of willpower, they often are symptoms of blood sugar instability and emotional states.
Sugar has become so readily available that it’s hard to quit. If you follow a holistic strategy for reducing your sugar cravings, you don’t need to strictly control or restrict your sugar intake. You can slowly build a healthier relationship to sweets by finding healthier alternatives and reduce the craving.
Eat more high quality, healthy fats. When we cut out high quantities of sugar and carbs from our diet, we lose many calories that our body was receiving before. Healthy fats are high in calories and have long energy stores. Thus, they keep you fuller for longer and give your body vital energy and nutrients. Some healthy fats are avocados, nuts, seeds (sunflower, chia, or hemp), olives, nut butters, and oils (coconut, sesame, ghee, avocado, olive). They will keep you satiated!
Eat more high quality sources of protein. Another good way to feel satiated if reducing your carb intake is to choose high quality protein sources. Whether you eat meat or are a vegan/vegetarian, it is important to choose less processed foods. Avoid highly processed meats that often contain sugar and other carbs. Eat free-range, organic, or wild-game animal protein if possible. Beans though high in carbs are high in protein and fiber, which function to slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream. Nuts, quinoa, and seeds are also great sources of protein.
Reduce of eliminate sodas, energy drinks, and sweetened drinks. Sweetened drinks send sugar straight to your blood stream. They give you a spike in energy, but make your blood sugar levels sporadic throughout the day. To keep your blood sugar level, reduce your intake. Try replacing soda with herbal teas, hot water, or water with slices of lemon, cucumber, or berries. “Diet sodas” though often technically low in calories and/or sugars, have many chemicals that are unknown to your body and are worse than drinking the soda with sugar.
Reduce or eliminate excess sugar. A good rule is to not eat more than 25 grams (six teaspoons) of sugar a day. Sodas average around 40 grams of sugar a day. Imagine pouring 12 teaspoons of sugar into your soda bottle. Sugar hides in processed foods with terms like “alcohol sugar” that aren’t listed as sugars, but affect your digestion. The American diet averages around 1/3 cups of added sugar per day. Try switching to fruits and natural forms of sugar.
Reduce refined grains. Most flours and foods with white enriched, or bleached flour, such as most breads, desserts, crackers, and cookies are refined and are classified as simple carbs. Many of them lead to inflammation and digestive issues. Even breads labeled “whole grain” might not be. A whole grain is fully intact, such as rice and barley. Switch to more whole grains and breads from whole sprouted nuts and seeds.
Everything in moderation Although this article is on reducing your intake of sugars, we don’t believe in radical diets or that you need to cut out all carbs. Only in excess does imbalance happen. Take things slowly and be easy on yourself. Food should be in act of self-love and treating your body to its fullest potential. We suggest being mindful of what you are eating with no “right” or “wrong”. Begin by asking yourself, “Is it serving me?”