Did you know that your diet is likely fueling your sugar cravings? Depending on what you’re eating (or not eating, in many cases), you could find it almost impossible to quit sugar. If you’re not eating enough of certain food groups, it can make sugar cravings a lot more likely. Here’s what to think about from a diet perspective to help you kick sugar cravings.
Protein helps slow down the rate that sugar is released into your bloodstream. If your protein intake is on the low side, your blood sugar can fluctuate a lot. And this means more sugar cravings!
It’s your body’s way of trying to get a quick energy boost. According to studies, eating a high-protein diet can reduce night-time snacking by as much as 50%. If you find yourself reaching for sugary snacks in the evenings and towards bedtime, eating more protein during the day can be super helpful.
Smart protein choices include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds, tofu, and some cereals.
Fiber is another way to slow down the absorption of sugar in your body. A lot of the time, fiber passes through your digestive system without being digested, which means it doesn’t have adverse effects on your blood sugar levels. And it doesn’t pave the way for huge sugar cravings.
Fiber also helps keep you feeling fuller. If you’re genuinely satisfied after eating, you’re less likely to have sugar cravings, especially if you’re also eating a good amount of protein, and healthy fats.
Fruit and vegetables are a great source of fiber. There’s a good reason to eat the rainbow and make sure you get plenty of fiber-rich fruits and veggies to help keep your sugar cravings in check!
Eat the rainbow! And we aren’t talking about Skittles here!
You don’t always need to be eating sugary foods to get sugar cravings? Carbs can have much the same effect since they’re broken down into sugars in the body and cause the same blood sugar fluctuations as sugar. White bread, pasta, and rice are super common culprits for this, along with refined starches like crackers, bagels, and potato chips.
Simple carbs get in your bloodstream very quickly. The end result? An equally fast spike in your blood sugar levels. This is why you can get such an instant “sugar high” from eating a sweet treat.
The trouble is, it’s quickly followed by a blood sugar crash as your blood sugar levels dip. Your body tries to deal with this by looking for a quick energy fix and guess what it chooses? Sugar!
If you eat a ton of simple carbs and you’re not eating enough protein, fiber and healthy fats, you’ll constantly have sugar cravings.
And when you start to cut out simple carbs, you can get mega sugar cravings — in the short term, at least. After that, it gets easier to reset your body’s expectations, and it learns how to get energy from other sources (and not just sugar).
Swap simple carbs for complex carbs that don’t have the same effects on your blood sugar levels. Think brown pasta, whole wheat bread, and brown rice.
As your body gets used to fueling itself with fats (and not sugar or carbs), it can break fats into ketones and use it for energy. Because it’s not using glucose, this keeps you feeling fuller for longer and turns off sugar and carb cravings.
As a bonus, it also keeps your brain supplied with the fats it needs to function well. Since your brain is largely made up of fats, this is important for a happy and healthy brain.
If you tend to lack focus and have “brain fog” more often than not, looking at your intake of healthy fats could help with this and your sugar cravings. Stock up on avocado, fatty fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and coconut oil to get more healthy fats in your life.
Swapping sugar for artificial sweeteners might seem like a sensible choice. They have lower calories, so they must be better, right? Not always!
According to studies, you’ll still get sugar cravings — sometimes more extreme than sugar. Research has indicated that artificial sweeteners can change the way your body uses glucose, which has an indirect effect on sugar cravings and calorie intake in general.
They can fool your mind into “needing” more calories. The end result? You can wind up eating more calories than you realize, having the opposite effect that you intended as we often switch to artificial sweeteners to lose weight and avoid the effects of sugar, right?
The bottom line? It doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to those Saturday morning donuts, but now you’ll be more equipped the rest of your week to say “no thanks” to some of those sugary choices that come your way.