The common wisdom goes: move more, eat less. If only it were that simple! The food industry has managed to convince us that their food is the best and that we need it. They have done this by changing our taste buds and brain chemistry. We blame ourselves for consuming too much sugar. Even people who are aware of how hormones and neurotransmitters that make them crave sugar work have a hard time controlling it, because there is so much money being put into making this a problem. It may seem difficult to give up sugar entirely, but it is possible to learn to cut back and have less sugar control your life. There are some things you can do to help you stop being addicted to sugar.
First things first, how many grams of sugar per day are actually OK?
That’s a difference of three teaspoons.” The recommended daily allowance of sugar differs for men and women, with women recommended to have six teaspoons and men recommended to have nine teaspoons. Nicole Avena, PhD, a research neuroscientist, food addiction expert, and author of What to Feed Your Baby and Toddler, believes that children should consume less than six teaspoons of sugar per day. This means that women and children should limit their intake of added sugar to 25 grams per day, and men should limit their intake to 36 grams per day.
“It’s important to note that sugar provides no nutritional value,” Avena adds. “It’s simply empty calories, devoid of vitamins, minerals, protein, or fiber.”
So how much is the average American actually getting? of added sugar, which is more than three times the amount they should have.” The average American consumes 77 grams of added sugar every day, which is more than three times the recommended amount.
“The average person is consuming about 50 grams of sugar per day, which amounts to about 20 teaspoons,” says Mark Drucker, MD, a doctor specializing in preventative medicine, healthy aging, and natural hormone therapies.2 “Children are getting more: 81 grams per day or 65 pounds a year, which, while only a modest increase, is much worse since children are smaller.”
How to Beat Sugar Cravings
Sugar substitutes are not get-out-of-jail-free cards
While sugar substitutes have some benefits, they can also upset your metabolism and make you hungrier.3 “Substitutes can help people who are dieting, who have diabetes (because some artificial sweeteners don’t raise blood sugar levels sharply), and those who are worried about cavities and tooth decay caused by sugar,” says Avena.4 Just like with regular white sugar, Avena emphasizes that it’s very important to consume artificial sweeteners in moderation and get most of your calories from whole foods. But how to do this? Keep reading for expert-approved ways to eat (and drink) less sugar.
Get more sleep
If you don’t sleep well, it can increase your sugar cravings. Consider going to bed a half hour early for a week to see how that feels.” Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, co-author of Sugar Shock, says that studies have shown that poor sleep leads to more intense cravings for sweets. She says that it’s important to look at your sleep patterns and consider going to bed a half hour early for a week to see how that feels, in addition to making some dietary changes. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night to help with cravings.
Know the difference between a craving and hunger
We often think we are hungry when we are actually just having a craving. What’s the difference? The next time you are considering eating something unhealthy, ask yourself if you would still eat it if it was the only thing you had to eat. If you don’t think you’re actually hungry, then you’re probably just craving something. When you’re hungry, you’re willing to eat anything. When you’re having a craving, you’re not flexible about what you want to eat. If you’re about to say no to something, take 20 minutes to think about it first. If you allow yourself to eat mindfully, you’ll often find that the craving goes away.
“You can also try to replace that craving with a healthy substitute,” says Kien Vuu, MD, a performance and longevity doctor and the author of Thrive State. Whenever I experience a craving, I’ll either go for a walk or sip on sparkling water. I find that if I don’t act on my initial craving and allow some time to pass, my craving will usually dissipate on its own.”
If you’re looking to reduce your sugar intake, try swapping out your dessert for something like Lily’s Sweets. “They’re botanically sweetened chocolate treats with no added sugar. This sweet does not add to your daily sugar intake. However, you should still eat it in moderation like any other sweet.
Add some protein to a carb-rich breakfast
A study that looked at MRI scans of people eating a high-protein breakfast found that the regions of the brain associated with cravings were less active.
You might find that eating a breakfast with some protein in it helps you to crave less sugar later on in the day. Pair it with some fruit for an added nutrient kick.” You can have your cereal with Greek yogurt or eggs to increase your protein intake. Pair it with fruit for added nutrients. Adding smoked salmon to bagels or toast is a great way to get an extra dose of protein.
Go for portion control
Not everyone will be able to give up sugar because it is a biological addiction and not just an emotional issue. Although many people find it difficult to stick to the “three-bite rule,” there is no harm in giving it a try. Paul advises that a good way to prevent overeating sugary foods is to buy them in single serving sizes. This will help with controlling portions in the moment. If you don’t have more than four Oreos at home, you’re limited to eating four Oreos.
Cut out sugar in foods that aren’t sweet. If you’re struggling to give up your ice cream and chocolate, see if you can eliminate ketchup and salsa from your diet instead. “Many savory foods, such as sauces and condiments, contain sugar. Just because a food is not a dessert or sweet does not mean it does not contain sugar,” says Ilene Ruhoy, MD, PhD. It might be a surprise to know that some of your favorite hot sauces also contain small amounts of sugar.” Sugar is a common ingredient in many types of ketchup, mustard, salsa, marinara, and other sauces. You may be surprised to learn that some of your favorite hot sauces also contain small amounts of sugar. Some meals such as sushi rice and polenta contain it.
In fact, according to Dr. Drucker, manufacturers add sugar to 74 percent of packaged foods!8 “Sugar is the most popular ingredient added to packaged foods; a breakfast bar made with ‘real fruit and whole grains’ may contain 15 grams or more of added sugar—sugar is literally hidden everywhere in our food supply. Many people do not realize how much sugar is added to common foods. Checking ingredient labels can help people be aware of the sugar content in their food.
Incorporate sweet spices as sugar alternatives
Find an alternative to sugar that tricks your mind into thinking you’re having the real thing.
Try swapping out your usual sweetened drinks for ones flavored with sweet spices like cardamom, coriander, pumpkin pie spice, and Ceylon cinnamon.
If you’re a fan of hot chocolate, you can use a small amount of cocoa powder or unsweetened cocoa mix in place of sugar. When baking, you can try adding one teaspoon of ground cinnamon or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger per cup of flour.
Although these spices have a sweeter taste, they do not contain sugar. When you add artificial sweeteners to foods, you will get a sweet taste, and your mind will think you are having something sugary when you are not.
Eat whole foods
Still, wondering how to beat sugar cravings? Quit processed foods! Many processed foods contain table sugar, from sauces and salad dressings to snacks that may seem harmless. When you’re trying to stop a sugar craving, it’s important that you stay away from sugary foods$ or foods with added sugars. If you find yourself eating a lot of sugary foods, try switching to a diet that focuses on whole foods. The natural nutrients found in these healthy options can help you to stop craving sugar.
Whole foods are more filling than processed foods, so you’re less likely to overeat. Plus, they’re packed with nutrients that help keep your energy levels up and your cravings in check. When you eat fresh foods, your body gets a variety of nutrients that are more easily absorbed than empty calories. Whole foods are more satisfying, so you’ll eat less and won’t crave sugar as much. Some research has shown that people who eat mostly fresh fruits and vegetables don’t usually crave processed foods that are high in sugar. Base your meals around lean proteins, healthy fats, and vegetables. To reduce sugar cravings, eat more meals that are based around lean proteins, healthy fats, and vegetables.
Quitting simple sugars can be hard at first, but it’s worth it to fight your cravings.
When you are trying to accomplish something, it is helpful to have someone to keep you accountable and help you stay on track. Share your goal with a spouse or friend and make it a competition, for example, see who can go the longest without sugar.
If you stick with the program for ten days, you will get used to the new taste and not want to go back to the old way of eating.
Why Do You Crave Sugar?
Sugar can be found in a variety of foods ranging from ice cream and cake to cookies and candy. What you may not realize is that you’re not just craving sweets when you’rehungry; you’re also craving bread, chips, starchy vegetables, and savory meats that have been coated with sugar or have had extra sugar added to them to make them more appealing to your taste buds.
But why do we crave sugar so much? Let’s take a look at some possible explanations below.
Many people who crave sugar cannot imagine living without it because it is so addictive. The desire to eat sugary foods is influenced by various factors, such as changes in hormone levels that impact how your body processes sugar, and the fact that eating sugary foods releases dopamine (a hormone associated with positive feelings) in the brain.
This is how addiction works: a person experiences a positive emotion (dopamine) when they engage in a certain behavior (taking drugs), and then associates that behavior with feeling good. So the person becomes more likely to repeat the behavior in order to feel that good emotion again. So now your brain craves the stimulus. Your brain craves sugar!
Sugar has the same effect on your brain as other addictive substances.
An imbalance in blood sugar
If you have reduced levels of glucose in your blood, you may crave sugar.
Sugar fuels different cell functions in the form of glucose. If your body isn’t getting enough glucose, it will send you hunger signals and cravings for sugar as a way to get a quick sugar fix.
A diet lacking in fiber and full of processed foods is a common cause of this. If you want to avoid constantly craving sugar, you should make sure to include lots of fiber in your diet. Fiber helps to regulate the release of sugar into your bloodstream, while processed foods can cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then crash soon after, which will just leave you wanting more sugar.
Lack Of Exercise
. Regular brisk walks will reduce sugar cravings, according to a study that found that taking short bouts of brisk walking, about 15 minutes, reduces cravings for sugary snacks in obese people.
Lack of sleep
There are two hormones that control your appetite: leptin and ghrelin.
Leptin decreases hunger by making you feel more full and satisfied, while ghrelin is a hormone that makes you feel hungry and crave food. The research showed that when people don’t get enough sleep, it increases the level of ghrelin in their bodies and decreases the level of leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone that makes people feel hungry, so when there’s more of it in your body, you’re more likely to feelhungry and eat more.
If you are stressed, your body will produce large amounts of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that helps your body cope with stress. If your cortisol levels are constantly high, it will have a negative impact on serotonin levels, another hormone that is associated with positive emotions.
When you have low serotonin levels, your body does not function well. The company will do whatever is necessary to increase sales levels. Your body will crave sugar when it is trying to raise its levels of feel-good hormones.
If you are like most people, you are probably familiar with the feeling of craving sugar. If you’re finding it hard to fight your sugar cravings, here are some tips that may help: – Avoid buying sugary snacks and drinks when you’re doing your grocery shopping. – Plan your meals in advance and make sure you’re including healthy, filling ingredients. – When you do have a sugar craving, try to satisfy it with a piece of fruit or a healthy alternative like unsweetened yogurt.
Incorporating sweet spices instead of sugar, eating whole foods while keeping off processed ones, incorporating enough protein and fats, cutting off energy drinks, and starting your day with various healthy habits, including exercise are some ways to be healthier.
There are a few main factors that lead to sugar cravings. If you can address these factors, you’ll be one step closer to beating your sugar cravings.