Sugar can be found in approximately 75% of packaged foods in the U.S.
This comes to show that the majority of us are most likely consuming sugar throughout our everyday lives without even thinking about it. Many people are firm that sugar can be as addictive as drugs. When we taste sugar, endorphins are released and we feel a type of “high.” This alone plus the fact that sugar tastes good is the reason why some people have sugar cravings. I’d be lying if I said that I never have sugar cravings – trust me I DO. I love sweets and I’m sure a lot of you do too! Just like anything, I personally believe that sweets are OK in moderation. Moderation doesn’t mean you eat a doughnut every morning.
“But it’s only once a day!”
Please understand that moderation means enjoying a doughnut (or half) every once in a while. Once a week, once a month – it truly depends on your goals. Eating in moderation means that you maintain a healthy lifestyle and treat yourself to something “unhealthy” every once in a while. Whether you choose fries, ice cream, a cookie, it’s up to you! If you don’t feel the need to treat yourself or don’t want to give into the temptation, good for you! That’s great! However, some of us have a sweet tooth every once in a while. I know sugar cravings can creep up on us in the middle of the day at work, after we get home, or any other time during the day. So, we know that processed sugar isn’t good for us, so what do we do when the cravings are REAL?
The sweetness from fruit is one of the best ways to help with sugar cravings. Natural sugar is a million times better than sticking to processed foods. You’re not only curbing your sugar cravings, but you are also providing your body with much needed fiber and nutrients.
Avoid Processed Foods
Research has shown “that sugar and processed foods are as addictive as heroin or cocaine.” When we consume sugar, our bodies produce dopamine, providing us with feelings of enjoyment. When the level of dopamine drops, we start to feel down and begin craving the pleasurable feeling again. We then continue to crave sugar, which can potentially lead to a sugar addiction. Because so many processed foods contain sugar, it is best to avoid them as much as you can!
Drink a Lot of Water
It is amazing what drinking some water can do! Sometimes we may think that our bodies are craving sugar when in reality, water may do the trick. You can either drink it alone or infuse it with lemon, strawberries, blueberries, mint, etc.
Interestingly, according to Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D., “Ninety percent of sugar addicts skip breakfast.” Eating a balanced breakfast helps in preventing a drop in blood sugar and will reduce your sugar cravings.
When we eat regularly, our blood sugar remains stable, helping us “avoid irrational eating behavior.” Eating more regularly and not waiting too long in between meals will keep us full and we are less likely to think about sugary food.
Find a Happy Medium
If you are craving chocolate and feel that your world is going to come crashing down if you don’t eat a Snickers bar, consider grabbing dark chocolate from the grocery store. Research has shown that the bitterness of dark chocolate causes cravings to decrease “by as much as one-third to one-half.”
How do you fight off sugar cravings? Do you use one of these methods or have you found something that works better for you? Please let me know in the comments below!
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Main Photo: Be Well
How to Battle a Sugar Craving Photo: Happy Sugar Habits