Sugar. We consume so much of it on a daily basis: in desserts, candy (Halloween, anyone?), processed foods, packaged foods, highly refined starches, soda, you name it. The more we consume, the more we crave because we are absolutely addicted.
Overconsumption of sugar results in lower energy, headaches, weight gain, difficulty sleeping and increased likelihood of binging to satisfy cravings. Luckily, there’s no reason to seek out “Sugar Addicts Anonymous” or pay the big bucks to get professional help in order to become a healthier and (naturally) sweeter you!
8 Tips to Beat Sugar Cravings:
1. Reduce your intake of caffeine.
Caffeine can make us dehydrated, which can affect our blood sugar levels and lead to frequent sugar cravings.
2. Put down the soda.
Seriously. It doesn’t matter if it’s diet or regular – both are just plain bad for you. They’re loaded with chemicals, syrups and ridiculous amounts of sugar. Even artificial sweeteners found in diet soda bring on cravings.
3. Drink water.
Sugar cravings are often a sign of dehydration, so before reaching for a sugary snack (or soda), drink a glass of water instead.
4. Find healthful “sweet” alternatives.
Sweet veggies (sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, etc.) and fruits are great alternatives.
5. Stay away from artificial sweeteners.
Even though these may be “zero calories,” they’re packed with chemicals and are easily addictive. Instead, use natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, raw sugar, stevia and agave nectar.
6. Avoid fat-free and low-fat packaged snacks.
These snacks contain large amounts of sugar to compensate for lack of flavor and fat. Although they’re low calorie, their sneaky sugar (or artificial sweetener) content could cause you to overeat later on, especially with sugary foods.*
There are a million reasons to exercise, but in terms of sugar addiction, exercise is a great way to balance your blood sugar levels, give you more energy and improve your mood (making it less likely for you to reach for chocolate…or Andy’s).
Again, there are a million reasons to get lots of sleep, including the fact that you will be less likely to reach for sugar as an immediate energy boost. Fewer hours of sleep will make sugar cravings more potent the following morning.
* If you’re trying to watch your weight, it’s better to eat something healthy with more calories and fat (think whole grain toast with avocado and some sea salt) than to eat a 100-calorie snack that’s going to keep you hungry and in search for more sugary items. A healthier, more caloric, yet low-sugar snack will keep you full and reduce cravings.