Do you feel powerless around sweet foods and drinks? Is it impossible for you to stop once you’ve had one sugary treat?
If you’re hooked on sugar, don’t feel bad. Lots of people are. In fact, one survey found that added sugars make up 13 percent of the average American adult’s diet! To put that in perspective, it’s recommended that added sugars and solid fats, combined, not exceed 15 percent of a person’s total calories.
If you want to stop craving sugar and limit your consumption of sweets, keep reading. Listed below are some tips that will help you kick the cravings to the curb for good!
Why Give Up Sugar?
You’ve probably heard for most of your life not to overdo it with the sweet stuff. But, what’s so bad about added sugar?
There are a number of health risks that come with overconsuming sugar, including the following:
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased risk of fatty liver disease
- Increased inflammation throughout the body
- Increased risk of weight gain and weight-related diseases (such as diabetes)
- Increased risk of dementia
- Increased risk of tooth decay
As you can see, there are lots of reasons to work on limiting your sugar consumption. Even if you’re at a healthy weight, you could still be causing some pretty serious internal damage.
What Do Sugar Cravings Mean?
It’s no secret that it’s easy to get hooked on sugar. If you’re always dealing with cravings for sweet things, the issue might go deeper than being a sugar addict. Your body might be trying to send you a message.
In some cases, sugar cravings cause nutrient deficiencies. If you feel like you’re always drawn to sugar, your body might be lacking one or more of these important minerals:
Chromium plays a major role in glucose tolerance factor (also known as GTF). This is necessary for the body to use insulin effectively to bring glucose into the cells for energy.
Chromium is in lean meats, asparagus, whole grains, molasses, and cheese.
Your muscles need vanadium to utilize glucose for energy. It also stabilizes insulin production and blocks the fat cells from storing excess glucose.
Vanadium is in dill, mushrooms, whole grains, parsley, and shellfish.
Magnesium plays a major roll in hundreds of the body’s metabolic processes. It also helps regular insulin, glucose, and dopamine, an important neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward.
Magnesium is in hazelnuts, dark chocolate, almonds, and spinach.
Zinc is essential for glucose and insulin utilization, wound healing, and blood clotting. Pork, oysters, beef, lobster, almonds, and chickpeas all contain Zinc.
How to Stop Craving Sugar
If you want to stop craving sugar, you may first want to make sure you’re not deficient in any of these nutrients. Your doctor can perform a simple blood test to let you know. Getting in sufficient amounts of these nutrients can help you reduce your reliance on the sweet stuff.
If a nutrient deficiency is not the issue, there are lots of other steps you can take to get rid of your sugar cravings, including those listed below:
Avoid Sources of Hidden Sugar
One of the biggest challenges that people face when they try to give up sugar is not realizing how much sugar there is in healthy foods. Some places where sugar tends to hide include:
- Cereals and granola bars (even “healthy” protein bars)
- Salad dressings
- Flavored yogurt
- Sauces and condiments (tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, ketchup, etc.)
- Dried fruit
- Frozen or canned foods
Be sure to read labels to make sure you’re not consuming sugar without knowing it.
Consume Plenty of Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are essential for brain health and they can help stave off cravings for sugary foods.
Some good sources of healthy fats to add to your diet include:
- Extra-virgin coconut oil
- Whole eggs
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Fatty fish like salmon and sardines
Nuts and seeds are also good sources of healthy fat.
Eat Fermented Foods
Fermented foods, especially fermented vegetables and drinks like kefir, are sour. Sour foods can help minimize sweet cravings. They also are a good source of probiotics, beneficial bacteria that support a healthy digestive tract.
Since excess sugar can cause bacterial overgrowths in the digestive tract, probiotics are great to help balance things out and improve overall health.
Decrease Alcohol, Caffeine, and Processed Food Consumption
Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics. As a result, they can cause you to become dehydrated, which increases your risk of mineral deficiencies. This includes the minerals linked to increased sugar cravings.
Alcohol also lowers your inhibitions, which can make it harder for you to say no to sugary snacks.
Avoid processed foods as much as possible. They’re usually loaded with sugar (or other sweeteners that have similar effects and can increase your sweet cravings).
Take an L-glutamine Supplement
The supplement L-glutamine can reduce (and even eliminate in some cases) cravings for sugar. It’s also great for overall digestive health and gives your immune system a much-needed boost.
Many people crave sweet foods when they’re dehydrated. To avoid this, make sure you’re drinking about half your body weight in ounces of water each day. If the taste of plain water bores you, consider adding sliced fruit for a natural flavor boost.
You can also mix things up with herbal teas. Since they’re not caffeinated, they won’t dehydrate you.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Most people tend to struggle with headaches and fatigue when they give up sugar. This is because your body is going through withdrawals.
Getting sufficient amounts of sleep can help you make it through this period unscathed. You’ll also have more energy and be more resilient to stress as a result.
Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercise is also important for helping the body detox and get through sugar withdrawals. It is also a great stress reliever and will help you sleep better.
Looking for More Health Tips?
You now know what you need to do to stop craving sugar. But, are you looking for more advice to take your health to the next level?
If so, be sure to check out our site for more helpful articles on everything from fitness and workout tips to the best supplements to ensure optimum nutrition!