Too much of anything is bad, and this is especially true when it comes to sugar. Sugar isn’t completely bad, but many people tend to overconsume this due to its addictive properties. This is where the trouble starts.
Consuming too much sugar can lead to many health issues and diseases, overshadowing the benefits people get from them. The best way to curb this is to try and stop your addiction to the substance by preventing one’s cravings.
But how do you do this? Here are six things you can do to stop sugar cravings.
What Is Sugar, and Why Do We Crave It?
Sugar is a general term used to describe carbohydrates that taste sweet. As such, you can easily find many forms of sugar available in stores and as ingredients in most sweet-tasting food. The most common ones that you can see are glucose and fructose.
While most sugars are harmful in excess, some of them, such as honey, bring more nutritional value to the food you’re consuming.
This substance is addictive to consume, and several factors help contribute to one’s excessive craving for sugar.
The first factor is that the body is hardwired to want sugar or sweet things. Sugar is not inherently bad. After all, why would our body want it if it was? Some sugars are used by the body as fuel. Consuming a healthy amount of sugar provides our bodies with the right energy level.
However, when you eat sugar, your body releases serotonin and dopamine, a chemical released by nerve cells that makes us feel good. It also triggers the release of endorphins that help relax and calm the body.
While our bodies have systems that trigger sugar cravings, keeping a person’s intake at a minimum is a doable task. Here’s what you can do to curb these sugar cravings.
How to Curb Sugar Cravings
1. Eat Healthy When You’re Hungry - Not What You’re Craving For
Hunger and cravings can be challenging to distinguish. Hunger is when your body looks for the actual fuel that it needs to run properly. On the other hand, having a craving is when your body seeks something in particular, in this case, sugar, to grant your body a dopamine hit or, in most cases, satisfaction.
If you want to curb your addiction to sugar, you must learn to differentiate between the two. When you think you’re hungry and want something sweet to eat, pause and consider whether you’d like to eat other food. If you don’t and only want the dessert in your fridge, that’s likely a craving.
There are times when hunger and cravings happen at the same time. When this hits, succumbing to your cravings is hard to resist, but this is exactly the time when you need to.
One way to do so is to opt for tasty but nutritious meals when you’re hungry. This helps satiate your hunger pangs while also curbing your sugar cravings. To make it easier, add protein-rich food to your meals, which can help easily satiate your hunger.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Your sleep dramatically impacts how your body works – this includes cravings. If you want to stop your addiction to sugar and prevent more cravings, you need to have a good night’s rest. Studies have found that poor sleep can intensify your sugar cravings.
If you can, make sure to get enough sleep regularly. This means sleeping for around seven to nine hours every day.
3. Don’t Starve Yourself
There are many reasons a person skips a meal. Some may be too busy with work, while others can’t afford three square meals a day. However, if you want to curb sugar cravings, you must stop starving yourself.
Sugar cravings due to not having enough food tend to happen at night. Throughout the day, a person may opt to skip meals or not eat enough. When a person is hungry, the body is looking for fuel to keep itself properly running.
While there are many types of food that the body can use as fuel, if you’ve reached the point that you’re starving, it’ll tend to look for easy fuel to burn. One such fuel is sugar.
If you want to know how to stop sugar cravings at night, you should keep one simple tip in mind: eat enough food to keep you going. If you can, opt to have more small meals throughout the day instead of fewer big meals.
4. Drink More Water
Drinking water helps with sugar cravings in numerous ways.
First, there are times when people mistake their thirst for hunger, which causes them to look for sugary snacks. Drinking water helps quench this thirst and can also help one feel full, helping you think that you don’t need to snack anymore.
Second, dehydration usually causes sugar cravings. When your body becomes dehydrated, it has trouble metabolizing glycogen so it can be used as energy. Because of this, your body craves more sugar to process even though you don’t really need it.
Third, by drinking more water, you tend to have it replace sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices you intake per day. This allows you to consume less sugar while keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day.
5. Make a Habit of Reading the Label
Sugar isn’t bad, and many food manufacturers use it in their processed items for numerous reasons. Not only does it give the product a pleasant taste, but it also helps preserve food, aids in fermentation, helps balance acid, and more. However, more and more manufacturers tend to use it to entice many people to consume more of their products.
As such, a lot of processed food items have “hidden sugars” that many manufacturers try to hide. This is especially common among non-sweet food items, including condiments and canned goods.
If you want to avoid the extra sugar these products bring, make it a habit to read the label. Doing so lets you learn about the hidden sugars many processed food items carry.
6. Consume Sugar in Moderation
Do remember that eliminating sugar completely is not the goal in trying to curb your sugar cravings. Again, in moderation, sugar provides your body with little repercussions.
The daily allowance for sugar consumption is quite lenient. In the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it’s recommended that a person should limit their sugar consumption to under 10% of their daily calorie intake. For someone taking a diet of 2,000 calories daily, that still means 48 grams or 12 teaspoons of sugar!
Sugar is used in many health products, including supplements and vitamins! However, they usually contain amounts well below the limit that’s usually recommended, so you don’t have to be afraid of these if you’re trying to limit your sugar intake.
Adding a small portion of sweets to your diet is okay. It helps you satiate your cravings by letting you taste the sweetness sugar brings but in small healthy amounts, not enough to cause issues in the long run.
Even though it's okay to have some sweets, you must complete your diet with nutritious, well-balanced meals. You may even add healthier, hunger-satiating food to offset or replace sweets. Also, if you always want dessert, try out the healthier options: fruits.
Curbing Sugar Cravings
Consider what you’re doing to your body to prevent sugar cravings – not just avoiding sweets. Your physiology and psychology play significant roles in keeping that sugar addiction at bay.
However, your target is not to quit sweets cold turkey. The secret is moderation. Our body still desires sugar as fuel, but if taken in the right amounts, you can help your body avoid serious health issues.
Ready to curb your excessive sweet tooth? Try these tips to prevent sugar addiction!