Sugar can be delicious but a little too much can be negative on our health and weight loss goals. Below we’re going to go through some of SuperFastDiet’s nutritionist and fitness experts, Kirsten and Vanessa’s top tips when it comes to managing those sugar cravings.
What causes sugar cravings?
Firstly, Kirsten wants it to be known, “Sugar is not poisonous or toxic or evil! It is in so many different foods that we consume and enjoy on a day-to-day basis.” Our body through our metabolism, digestion and natural absorption breaks down the foods we consume into glucose, being sugar. The problem is more so about how MUCH sugar we consume. You can absolutely achieve your goals without going sugar or carb free.
Ultimately, we should be having no more than 2 teaspoons a day. In Australia on average however, we are having double if not triple that recommendation. Kirsten explains that ultimately, it is pretty unexplainable where our sugar cravings do come from. Most of the time it has to do with our senses being exposed to something and simply wanting to be satisfied. You might see something on TV or whilst at the shops or smell something delicious, and you want to eat it.
Cravings can also be due to hormonal imbalances. It is well known that during menstruation, women can find themselves craving sugar a little more than usual, and they can also commonly arise during pregnancy also.
We have also for so long associated sugar as a reward or a treat. From when we are young, sugar is often seen as something you will get if you do something good. On top of this, dessert post meals is common in becoming habitual from an early age.
These habits can be difficult to break, so sometimes cutting down can be much easier than completely denying your craving. If you completely reject and try to ignore the craving, this can be even more detrimental, as you will find yourself distracting yourself with a ‘healthier’ option such as fruit, then after all the denying, you still have that chocolate and find you’ve eaten even more than if you did just satisfy your craving in the first place.
How do I reduce these cravings?
Ask yourself these really easy to answer questions, demonstrating ways you can try to reduce your sugar desires each day!
1. Do you have ‘good’ treats available?
Having lower calorie, easy and accessible treats available in the house is always a great way to not be tempted to overdo it on other goodies. What are some of our favourites?
– Frozen grapes
– Frozen berries
– Pitted dates
– Fresh Fruit
– Flavoured Yoghurt
– Chocolate stuffed raspberries
– Homemade Baked Goods like Protein Balls and Muesli Bars
2. Are you being mindful?
When you finish off your dinner and feel like dessert is the automatic next option, think about if you really need it or if you are after that sugar hit as it feels like a habit. Instead, maybe try waiting a little bit of time and enjoy a sweet tea infusion. Being mindful when eating and checking in with yourself and what you need is always helpful in these moments.
3. Are you thirsty?
Cravings often arise when you have not provided yourself with enough H2O and your body is dehydrated. A lack of fluid can make it difficult for particular organs to release glycogen (stored glucose) and other components of your energy stores, hence, it can actually trigger specific food cravings. Being aware of your hydration levels, and ensuring you do keep up your water in take every day is so important for a number of reasons, including cutting down those cravings.
4. Are you getting enough sleep?
Do you ever find yourself a day after a bad, disrupted night’s sleep reaching for the sweet snacks and treats much more than usual? A lack of sleep can quite dramatically disrupt hormone levels, Kirsten explains. Ensure you are aiming for that adequate 7 to 8 hours sleep to try and keep those cravings at bay throughout the day.
5. Do you need a pick me up?
Habit and ‘boredom eating’ can often lead to continuous snacking on delicious, sweet treats. This happens and is ok sometimes, but when it is constant, maybe you are simply in need of a more natural and satiating energy and boredom pick me up. Head out for a walk, call a friend or enjoy a book. Often doing things you enjoy can be a great distraction. Always ensure you are consuming satisfying balanced wholefood meals to keep you full and satisfied, too.