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There are various ways you can combat sugar cravings throughout the day. The primary way of doing this is to avoid sugar and food or beverages made with large amounts of sugar. This includes many processed foods, soda, juice cocktails, yogurts, and sugar itself. Avoiding refined carbohydrates may also be beneficial, as well as keeping your blood sugar stable, not skipping meals, and drinking more fluids.
Sugar cravings arise when you eat refined sugar or refined carbohydrates, such as white bread. The sugar hits your bloodstream rapidly and gives you a burst of energy. Unfortunately, your metabolism burns off this energy quickly, leaving you feeling tired and sluggish. This, in turn, results in sugar cravings as the body attempts to regain lost energy. The problem with this is that sugar has few nutrients, can lead to diabetes and insulin resistance, and doesn't provide a stable energy supply. This is why avoiding sugar is the first step in getting rid of sugar cravings.
One of the best ways to curb sugar cravings is to keep your blood sugar as steady as possible. The best way to do this is to eat a balanced diet containing both complex carbohydrates and protein. Complex carbohydrates, meaning anything made from whole wheat rather than refined wheat which turns to sugar in your system, break down more slowly in your system. This allows energy to peak and remain high for longer periods of time. Additionally, protein helps your stomach stay full longer so you don't become hungry too soon.
Drinking more fluids is another way to get rid of sugar cravings. Some research has shown that many times when hunger seems to be an issue, extreme thirst is actually the culprit. This is because the brain reads hunger signals and thirst signals in much the same way. To avoid binging on sugar, drink eight ounces (236.59 ml) of water and wait fifteen minutes. If you are still hungry after this time has passed, you can eat a snack composed of vegetables, complex carbs, or protein.
When avoiding sugar, it is important to read labels in order to make sure there are no hidden sugars. Things like high fructose corn syrup have the same effects as sugar and are found in a variety of processed foods. A general rule of thumb is avoid anything with ingredients ending in "-ose." Additionally, you should avoid putting sugar into foods and beverages. Instead use stevia, a natural sweetener. Avoid artificial sweeteners whenever possible.
@dfoster85 - Whole fruits are definitely a good choice for dealing with a sugar craving that you already have. A lot of people mistakenly think that fruit juice is "healthy," but with the fiber removed, it's going to affect you similarly to soda (just with more nutrients). When I want a sweet beverage, I take just a smidge of juice and cut it way down with calorie-free flavored seltzer.
If you want to stop sugar cravings before they arrive, you have to start with breakfast. You do need some carbs to fuel up, but make them whole carbs! And eat some good protein. A hard-boiled egg is good, or peanut butter on your toast. Or think outside the breakfast box! Leftover chicken, a burrito with a whole-grain wrapper and fat-free refried beans, whatever!
Whole fruits are a good choice for a sugar craving. Most fruits are high in fiber, and the fiber seems to help the sugar digest more slowly and prevent the blood sugar highs and lows that cause cravings.
The most colorful fruits and vegetables are the most nutritious. Try a clementine, peeled and segmented at home and brought to work with you. Or pineapple chunks. Try a whole grain cereal, hot or cold (Cheerios, oatmeal, etc.) with blueberries on it.
Dried fruits, like raisins, are not a bad choice, but the drying process makes them very calorie-dense, so go easy on them. And make sure they don't have added sugar! Except for raisins, many dried fruits do have added sugar. Even, for instance, cherries. Why would you need to sweeten dried cherries?
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