Have you ever heard someone say “I am addicted to sugar?” They are not far off, especially since sugar is absolutely addictive. The body does not crave highly-processed snacks on its own; it is a learned, habitual behavior. The more you consume, the more your body will crave. Even when you think you are doing a world of “good” by consuming “diet” items with artificial sweeteners, your body is, still, unable to differentiate. In actuality, it may lead you to crave even MORE sugar in the long run.
Why Am I Craving Sugar?
Cravings have been shown to be directly correlated to the connection between food and mood. Theorists have expressed that individuals generally “crave” carbohydrates in an effort to boost mood and self medicate.
Here are some causes of sugar cravings:
- Not eating enough food at a given meal, leaving you unsatisfied and more apt to snack.
- Consuming foods that do not provide the best nutritional value, such as those high in highly-processed carbs & added sodium.
- Not balancing out your meals appropriately; too many simple carbohydrates, with not enough protein and healthy fats, can have you gravitating towards more sugary carbohydrates later in the day/evening.
How to Stop Sugar Cravings Instantly
Kicking your sugar habit may feel like quite the challenge. The good news, though, is with a few consistent strategies, you can be well on your way to saying goodbye to those all-consuming sweets!
- Balance Your Meals: Balancing your meals with proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates will keep your blood sugar levels stabilized and keep you feeling fuller, for longer.
- Stay Hydrated: It’s not uncommon we mistake “hunger” for actual thirst. While it is recommended to consume, at least, ½ your body weight in ounces of water, as well as making sure to compensate for any caffeinated beverages and exercise you do throughout the day, drinking 8-10 oz. of water when feeling a craving come on can help get you through it.
- Get Moving: In one study, research showed overweight individuals having less of an urge for sugary foods, specifically chocolate, when implementing a 15 minute brisk walk into their daily routine. This was especially evident when the individual engaged in physical activity during times of stress or when sugary foods were present.
- Manage Stress: One of the biggest culprits of cravings, finding ways to manage and reduce stress could help kick them to the curb faster than you think! Examples of techniques to implement include taking a yoga or tai chi class, meditation, breath work, and even guided imagery.
- Add Nutritional Supplements: A lack of vitamins and minerals have been shown to affect appetite and increase cravings due to nutritional deficiencies. Here are some supplements you can incorporate:
- Vitamin B Complex
- Fish Oil – a great supplement to increase insulin sensitivity which directly affects sugar cravings!
In addition to these strategies, if you are looking for another option that is safe, effective, and will help keep you craving free, using our easy dissolve mints, Citravarin, will help keep you focused and on the path to kicking those sugar cravings for good!
Foods to Avoid and Eat During Fasting to Prevent Sugar Cravings
Making sure our meals are balanced with lean proteins, healthy fats, and good quality complex carbohydrates are ideal to keep blood sugar levels balanced, and to help keep us feeling fuller for longer periods of time. Another important component is to make sure we eat to the point of feeling satisfied, and be mindful that aggressive portion control is not the most beneficial when it comes to eliminating sugar cravings. The majority of the time, this leads to feeling unsatisfied and the potential risk of snacking (and binging) later in the day or into the evening hours. At the same time, overeating, or binging, on not so nutritious foods at a given meal provides an unsatisfying feeling too, and can hinder your fasting efforts in the process.
An effective technique is to wait about 30 minutes after you have consumed a meal, and check in with yourself. Make sure to be consistent with drinking water – remember, we sometimes mistake hunger for thirst – and see how you feel. Are you still, truly, hungry? Are you groggy and feeling overly stuffed? Both ends of the spectrum are not providing you with the satisfaction you need to help prevent sugar cravings & support your fasting practice. Think more in terms of the Goldilocks effect – it’s about finding that happy medium of staying consistent with a nutrient-rich diet, while staying satisfied at the same time.
Here are some of the best foods to consume while practicing intermittent fasting to prevent sugar cravings:
- The less processed, the better! Think fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and good quality complex carbohydrates (i.e. whole grains).
- Proteins, fruits, and vegetables should be your main focus. These include but not limited to:
- Proteins: Chicken breast, fish, beans and lentils, tofu, and plain Greek yogurt are a great way to stay satisfied and help to repair and rebuild lean muscle mass.
- Fruits: Whole fruits such as apples, oranges, pears, plums, berries, melons, and even dried fruits such as dates. Not only do they contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals but they are high in fiber and volume which help to slow down the rate of digestion and provide a feeling of fullness. Plus, fruits can be a great buffer to satisfying a sweet tooth.
- Vegetables: Just like fruits, vegetables provide a great amount of fiber and volume. Think of things like cauliflower, broccoli, and leafy greens such as spinach, kale, cabbage, and arugula.
Now that we know the best foods to consume, now let’s talk about the foods to avoid when wanting to eliminate cravings:
- Cookies, candies, pastries
- Fruit drinks
- Refined breads
- Sweetened caffeinated beverage such as coffee and tea
- Sugary cereals
- Processed and packaged granola, granola bars, fruit and energy bars
- Pretzels, chips, and crackers
These foods are all high in highly-processed carbohydrates. Snacks like these lead to the spikes and crashes that drive future cravings.
Sugar Cravings at Night
A study showed that the desire to eat at night, specifically craving sugary, salty foods, may have to do with our body’s internal clock. This dates back to the days of our ancestors, when a caloric surplus in the evening was the body’s way of preparing for the potential shortage of food.
Some other reasons you may be craving sugar at night include:
- Not eating (and hydrating) enough earlier in the day
- Habitual behavior
- Boredom or de-stressing
- Not getting enough sleep
How can you prevent these cravings from happening?
- Focus on eating well rounded, balanced meals, and keep hydration in check. Eat with mindfulness and slowly too. It takes about 20 minutes for the brain-gut connection to happen so the slower you eat the more you can stay aware of when you feel satisfied.
- If you have a habit of watching TV after dinner, which means eating a bowl of ice cream, change your routine. Instead, go for a walk, take a bath, or get into bed and read.
- Aim to get, at least, 7-8 hours of sleep each night. When you are well rested, your willpower and decision making skills are that much stronger!
- If you are finding cravings really strong, and having a hard time staying focused, Citravarin is a great solution to help you manage all, and keep your fasting practice in check too!
Yes, sugar cravings are real, and they can feel hard to manage, but smart, consistent approaches can help you eliminate them, for good, and be able to reap the amazing benefits of your intermittent fasting protocol and lifestyle goals!