Sugar cravings can often strike when we’re feeling low or stressed. While having something sugary seems like the simple solution, it can cause your energy levels to drop and make you crave more sugar. It’s possible to overcome your sugar cravings and break the cycle!
So, why do we crave sugar? Eating foods that are high in sugar causes our brains to release dopamine, a chemical that makes us feel good and less stressed. Over time, our brains become conditioned and crave more sugar to achieve that same happy feeling. We can also experience sugar cravings when our blood sugar is low. One of the main sources of energy for our body and brain is glucose, which is a type of sugar. If our blood sugar drops too low, our bodies will start craving sugary foods in an attempt to raise our glucose levels. In some cases, seeing, smelling or thinking about sugary foods can trigger cravings.
Here are some tips to help you beat sugar cravings:
- Drink water and wait 10 minutes – just as sugar cravings can come on quickly, they can fade just as fast. And we can also experience hunger if we haven’t been drinking enough water. Instead of giving in, have a glass of water and wait to see if you still want something.
- Go for a brisk 20-minute walk – exercise releases endorphins which can make us feel happy and reduce stress. By getting your heart rate up with a brisk walk, you may find that you’re feeling much better after and no longer want sugar.
- Eat naturally sweet foods – some foods contain natural sugars and are rich in nutrients like fibre, making them a much healthier alternative to processed foods that are high in refined sugars. Try snacking on some fruit, sweet vegetables such as carrots and sweet potato, or add some cinnamon or raw cacao for sweetness.
- Fuel your body – having regular meals throughout the day can help you manage your blood sugar levels and prevent sugar cravings. Preparing healthy snacks can also reduce the temptation to eat sugary foods.
- Eat high fibre foods – fibre rich foods not only help you to stay fuller for longer but can also keep your blood sugar levels stable. Fruits, vegetables and grains such as oats and seeds are all packed with fibre.
- Change your environment – if you see a sugary treat and feel tempted, sometimes the easiest thing to do is to walk away from it and move into a new environment. You could go outside or into another room or get stuck into a new activity.
- Reflect – a great way to overcome sugar cravings is to reflect on why you’re having them. Maybe you feel stressed or bored, haven’t eaten in a while or haven’t been drinking enough water. Once you know the reason, you can find a healthier way to address it such as listening to music, talking to a friend, eating a nourishing meal or having a glass of water.