Is your sweet tooth out of control?
Do you suffer from constant sugar cravings? Do you find yourself reaching for sweet tweet after sweet treat? Or only wanted sweet foods? Cravings for sugary treats is a common complaint of most dieters. If you’ve found that sugary snacks just makes you crave more, there is a reason behind it. Eating lots of simple carbohydrates, without the backup of protein or good fat can quickly satisfy a craving and give your body a quick energy boost, but then almost as quickly leave you hungry and wanting more.
As humans we are hardwired from birth to prefer the taste of sweet. Sweet is a taste that is NATURALLY found in vitamin, fiber and nutrient dense foods more or less restricted to fruits in nature. Carbohydrates stimulate the release of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. Sugar is a carbohydrate, but carbohydrates come in other forms, too, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
The taste of sugar also releases endorphins that calm and relax us, and offer a natural "high," says Susan Moores, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in St. Paul, Minn.
The problem is not really the sugar but the form of sugar and the quantity of it. Now sugar is being added to almost anything: pasta sauces, breads, soups, yogurts. On average Americans are consuming 25+ grams of sugar per day. While the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to about 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 for men.
Here are some ways to combat sugar cravings:
- Combine sugar and protein. If you must have a chocolate fix opt for dark chocolate and combine it while unsalted nuts. It makes for a very satisfying combination which will help you avoid over indulging.
- Don't start the day with sweet. Start your day with a protein packed breakfast and leave the sugary creamers and added sweeteners out of your morning coffee. This will avoid starting the cycle of sugar cravings.
- Go on a sugar detox! Cut out sugar cold turkey for at least 72 hours and up to 30 days to help curb your sugar cravings.
- Have fruit instead! You'll get fiber and nutrients along with some sweetness. Stock up on foods like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits (without added sugar). To hep curb cravings.
- Don't skip meals! Eating regular meals will keep you from over indulging on the wrong foods.