Health Hacks : Sugar Cravings

Updated: May 22, 2018

We have all experienced cravings in our lives previously with the most common being sugar cravings! Its one of the regular questions I get asked - how do I get rid of my cravings, how do I stop eating sugar Bec? 

Intense sugar cravings can be really powerful and hard to resist. Luckily, you can retrain your brain and stop those nasty sugar cravings once and for all. Quitting sugar is one of the best things you can do for your health. Whether you are wanting to find your healthy weight, improve gut health, heal your skin, balance your hormones, gain more energy or improve your overall health; living a sugar free lifestyle will accelerate you towards reaching these goals. So WHY do you get sugar cravings? -  Sugar cravings can happen for many different reasons;

  • Sugar is a fast/easy source of energy. Your body is programmed to seek out easy calories. 

  • Sugar tastes really, really good

  • Sugar makes you feel better. Which is why you emotional eat. 

  • You're excessively exposed to sugar - food tastes bland when it doesn't have added sugar, 

  • Today, a very high percentage of the products in our supermarkets have got added sugar. So naturally, you have developed a taste for sweet things. 

So for those who want to dig a little deeper on why…..Firstly when you eat foods that are high in sugar, your brain releases the happy hormone - making you feel better and less stressed. So because of the way it makes you feel, with time we condition ourselves to reach for these high sugary foods when we are feeling moody, tired, anxious, unhappy and so on.   This creates the lovely sugar craving cycle most wish they didnt have. You feel crappy, You eat something yummy and sweet, you feel better and then you repeat the cycle.  Secondly sugar cravings can occur when our blood sugar levels drop too low. This can occur from not eating regularly enough, skipping meals is a big no no for many reasons, avoiding carbohydrates can also cause this problem.  

Did you know that your brains primary fuel source is glucose, which is a simple sugar and if you brain doesnt get enough of this it cant function at its best, or even normally - it will send out signals telling us to eat sugar so that it has the energy it needs! And that signal is the sugar craving. The problem is that most people go for the highly refined and processed sugary foods when the craving hits! Think biscuits, chocolate, ice-cream, cakes, donuts, chocolate bars…and so on.This can cause our blood sugar to spike so fast then drop so quickly again, causing us to hop into the sugar craving cycle again and again. So how do we heal the cravings you ask? Feel free to get out a pen and paper and jot down some notes

These are a few ways that I teach my clients:

  1. Keeping your blood sugar levels stable is so important - meaning stop skipping meals and also include some lo GI foods in your meals and snacks. Foods that have a lo GI rating are slower absorbed by the body and only will gradually elevate your blood sugar levels. This helps to stabiles them and prevents them from going up and down - in return reducing your cravings. Lo Gi foods include sweet potato, corn, apple, berries, apricots, pears, oranges, brown rice, quinoa - the list goes on - just jump onto google. 

  2. Stop avoiding fruits - fruit contains natural sugars along with nutrients like fibre, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals. Fruit it can give you a nice sweet kick naturally but can help manage your sugar cravings but thanks to the fibre content it can help manage your sugar cravings. 

  3. Stop adding sweetener to your tea and coffee. Even natural or artificial sweeteners (including stevia) train your brain to expect sweet flavour and increase cravings for sugar. And whilst youre at it, skip the biscuits with your tea as well!

  4. Swap out your refined sugar snacks for cleaner healthier options. I know with my clients one of the things they say to me is oh but bec i dont want to give up my sweet treat after dinner, what am i meant to eat instead? Creating your own sweet clean treats is always fun - our JBT program is great for that OR these days you can find many recipes online.

  5. Stop chewing sweet gum (even if it's sugar-free) or having sugar-free lollies this can actually have a huge impact on blood sugar levels and can actually trigger further sugar cravings.

  6. Use nut butter or avocado as spread instead of honey or jam. 

  7. Eat foods high in fibre - soluble fibre (which swells with water in your gut can help you to feel full, stabilises your blood sugar levels and reduces cravings) which is found in fruit, veggies, grains - like oats. 

  8. Drink more water - dehydration more often than not can be confused as sugar cravings or even hunger. Have a big drink of water and re asses how you feel. 

  9. Aim to include a source of protein and a healthy fat with each meal, this helps to keep you feeling more satisfied and wont give you a rise in blood sugar.

  10. Lastly create a healthy kitchen and home environment that doesnt tempt you to eat sugar after dinner, remove all sugary foods from your kitchen and replace with healthier options. Buy treats as you want and need them, dont just keep them on hand ‘in case’.

  11. Boost your meals with natural, fresh flavours - spices, herbs, lemon or lime juice, garlic and chilli will do the trick.

  12. embrace more savoury foods! The more you eat sweet, the more you crave it. 

  13. Add Cinnamon to your food. It is known to help balance sugar levels and reduce sweet cravings, cinnamon and vanilla gives a naturally sweet tone to recipes! 

  14. Apple Cider Vinegar, drink this stuff daily and you will notice the sugar cravings disappear, but please remember always consume with a small amount of water to protect your oesophagus

  15. Finding the real reason you are craving sugar also can help - is it because you skipped a meal and actually just need food, are you stressed, bored, upset, tired. 

  16. If you are bored find something non food related to do and keep entertained. If you are stressed remove those stresses or do something to reduce them, get outside, listen to some music, chat to a fiend. 

  17. Exercise - this gets the feel good hormones happening and can help turn off cravings 

I know quitting sugar can seem overwhelming but with a little support and a few changes to your lifestyle, the good news is you can retrain your brain and heal the sugar cravings.

Just start by incorporating some of the tips we just went through, you will be well and truly on your way. 

If you would like any further support or to work with me to personally, learn more here.

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© 2019 Copyright | Food.Fitness.Wellness | rebecca neale
{My personal opinions and journey should not be mistaken for professional medical or healthcare advice}