Sugar has been shown to increase the risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease. It’s a leading factor in excessive weight gain, inflammation and unhealthy skin conditions. And as for mood swings, squishy middle sections, bloating, and 3pm energy slumps? Yup, our sweet little friend is to blame.
Resetting your palate and saying no to cravings isn’t easy, but it is possible. Humans are genetically programmed to enjoy sweet foods and the white stuff is highly addictive. The key to controlling cravings is moderation and balance, and for that we’re gonna need a game plan…
1. ￼Reduce Caffeine
The ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar swings, which can cause sugar cravings to become more frequent. Just another reason to limit your cup of coffee to one (or less) per day.
2. Drink More Water
Soft drinks, energy drinks and packaged fruit drinks are typically loaded with sugar. Plus sometimes sweet cravings are just a sign of dehydration. Before you reach for the sugar, drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes to see what happens. You might find it passes right on by.
3. Eat Sweet Vegetables
Pumpkin, corn, carrots and sweet potato are naturally sweet, healthy, and delicious. Packed with vitamins and minerals, they’ll keep you satisfied for longer and will help curb your cravings for added sugar.
Experiment with herbs and spices too. Mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and help reduce cravings.
4. Choose the Most Natural Form
Let’s get real. It’s unlikely that you’re going to avoid desserts forever. So if and when you do treat yourself, avoid chemical, artificial sweeteners and foods with added sugar. Instead try natural sweeteners like dates, organic maple syrup and coconut sugar.
5. Ditch the Fat-Free / Low-Fat Labels
These foods compensate for the lack of flavor from fat with high quantities of sugar, which will send you on the roller coaster ride of sugar highs and lows. Foods high in natural fat (like coconut, avocado, nuts and seeds) actually kill sugar cravings, while balancing hormones and feeding the brain and skin. Forget the marketing hype and get friendly with the good stuff.
6. Reduce Your Consumption
The less sugar you eat, the less you’ll crave. Eventually your tastebuds will change and desserts you used to enjoy will taste too sweet. Hurray! Focus on getting your sweet fix from whole fruit instead.
7. Move Your Body!
Even if it’s just simple activities like walking or yoga. Start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase. Being active helps balance blood sugar levels, boosts energy, clears the mind and reduces tension, which will eliminate the need to self-medicate with sugar.
8. Catch Some ZZZZ‘s
Get more sleep, rest and relaxation. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, are the most readily usable forms of energy for an exhausted body and mind. If you’re in a chronic state of stress and/or sleep deprivation, your body will crave the quickest form of energy there is – sugar. Ensuring you get enough rest will save you from this toxic, never-ending cycle.
9. Find Sweetness in Non-Food Ways
Cravings – especially for sweets – often have a psychological component. If you find yourself craving or eating too many sweet things, ask yourself if your cravings are the symptom of something deeper? Are you really craving more fun, adventure, affection, or freedom in your life?
Bust out your journal, take a deep breath, and really explore the topic. What feels out of balance for you right now? What small steps could you take to address this? How could you better deal with emotions you might be trying to comfort with sweets?
When life becomes sweet enough, you don’t need additives. ♥