There are different reasons we may crave sugar. If we are eating sugar regularly, our bodies expect and, in turn, desire it. When we eat sugar, our brain releases dopamine, the pleasure hormone, making it more likely for us to want more sugar at that moment and later on. Our blood sugar levels also rise when we eat sugar. When our blood sugar drops, we feel fatigued and hungry, often for something sugary, which restarts the cycle. Feelings of tiredness or stress may also stimulate sugar cravings.1 So, how can we curb sugar cravings?
Tips to Overcome Sugar Cravings:
- Follow an overall healthy eating pattern. Eating a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, and unsaturated fats consistently will increase your feelings of fullness. Whole grains and fruits have carbohydrates and natural sugars that can satisfy your sugar needs.
- Eat regularly throughout the day. Going too long without eating can increase cravings for sugary foods. Try to eat every 3-5 hours, and plan for healthy snacks between meals.
- Substitute added sugars for natural sugars. Snack on fruit to satisfy a sugar craving rather than a food item with lots of added sugar. Fruits also have fiber that will help you feel fuller longer. Pair your fruit with a small portion of nuts or seeds for some healthy fat and protein for an even more filling snack.
- Replace any associations. You may unconsciously associate certain actions with a sugary indulgence. If you’re in the habit of eating a candy bar after lunch, you will quickly crave that sugar kick with every lunch. Replace the candy bar with a short walk outside or 5-minutes of stretching and create a new habit.
- Limit temptations. Replace sugar-filled food items in your fridge, freezer, and pantry with healthy alternatives. If you have the sugary foods on-hand, you are more likely to succumb to your craving.
- Have patience. At first, it may be very difficult to overcome your cravings since your body is wired to expect it. Be patient and pretty soon you will notice your cravings decrease and even disappear.
- Have one bite. Giving in and having just one bite could satisfy your craving. Chew that bite slowly and savor the taste. This takes planning and discipline to avoid eating your normal portion. Using the candy bar example, maybe you buy one candy bar and cut it into small pieces and only pack one small piece in your lunch.
- Indulge on occasion. Once you feel a little more control over your cravings, it’s okay to indulge. Eating a small bowl of your favorite ice cream every so often can be just enough to satisfy you and prevent you from craving it all the time. When you do indulge, be mindful of your portions.
Make your game plan and start kicking your sugar cravings today!
- Brody B. The science on sugar cravings and how to beat them. Levels. November 7, 2021. Accessed March 9, 2023. https://www.levelshealth.com/blog/the-science-on-sugar-cravings-and-how-to-beat-them
Don’t miss another great blog: Subscribe Now