Science is discovering that sugar cravings may be more than simply desiring something sweet to eat. Several studies show that our physiology gets involved when we eat sugary treats, causing our bodies to have physical reactions that lead to more cravings.
Scientists and nutritionists have found that sugary carbohydrates cause our bodies to release the feel good hormone serotonin. The taste of sugar also makes the body release chemicals that relax us. It’s sort of a natural high according to doctors. Also, sweets simply taste good.
A sweet treat now and then is certainly nothing to cause alarm. The real concern is that the average American consumes over 20 teaspoons of extra sugar per day from processed foods, bread, yogurt, sauces, candy, soda, and more. This overconsumption has led to an epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes. So how can you put to rest your sugar craving once and for all? Let’s look at some practical tips that other have used to beat the sweets.
Indulge…once in awhile
Going cold turkey doesn't’t work for the majority of people. When you cut yourself off from sweets altogether, you usually end up thinking about them to the point where you give in and indulge. Remember, we are not talking about crack cocaine here. A little candy bar or small cookie isn’t going to kill you. It’s okay to indulge just a little bit every once in awhile. When you do indulge, try and find a sugary treat that is less than 200 calories.
Combine Sweets with Other Foods
Some people simply cannot eat one cookie or half of a candy bar. If you are that type of person, you should try incorporating other foods with your sweet snacks. For example, if you love chocolate then combine it with a healthy piece of fruit like and apple or banana. That way you get full and also consume something good for you.
Most people cannot completely quit sweets, but some are successful. The first 1-3 days are the hardest because your body will actually go through withdrawals. You may experience headaches and fatigue. After the initial withdrawals wear off, you will feel great. Over time, the cravings will subside as your body and mind get used to going without.
Chew Sugar Free Gum
Gum tastes great, gives your mouth something to chew on, and costs very little. Research has shown that chewing sugar free gum reduces cravings in some people. There are a lot of flavors out there as well. Gum makers have caught on and even make flavors after your favorite treats such as strawberry cheesecake, key lime pie, and apple crisp.
Eat Some Fruit
When your sugar cravings hit, have a healthy alternative on hand. Many people have traded in candy and donuts for things like dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. These types of foods are healthy alternatives, but still have that “snack quality" about them. Many grocery stores sell great tasting dried fruits in bulk. Stock up!
Eat Every Few Hours
Eating every few hours keeps sugar cravings at bay. When hunger strikes you are often at your weakest point. Have you ever gone shopping while hungry? You probably came home with a ton of extra snack food that wasn’t on your list. If you eat healthy foods every two to three hours you can avoid the hunger trap that ensnares so many people.
Reward Your Good Behavior
Use sweets as a reward for keeping your consumption to a minimum. Again, it’s okay to indulge once in awhile. What better way to indulge by rewarding yourself for being good. You can have a sweet treat and not feel guilty.
Create a Meal Plan
People who like structure often do well on meal plans. They provide a tangible list of foods that you can focus on eating. Eating sweets is often done out of impulse. If you have a food plan you are following, the impulses are likely to reduce greatly.
If you are having a hard time cutting back all by yourself ask a family member or friend to join you. If no one wants to join in then ask them to help keep you accountable.
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