Almost every single one of us gets them from time to time: sugar cravings. You’re doing just fine on your diet and then these strike and next thing you know, you’re hand deep in a bag of candy or have just polished off a tub of ice cream.
You don’t need me to tell you that sugar is detrimental to any diet, whether it’s for weight loss or just general health purposes.
Combating sugar cravings is therefore essential to your success. While you don’t necessarily have to ban sugar entirely – a treat on occasion is just fine, it’s definitely something to keep to a minimum.
Here are five smart strategies you can start using right away.
Add Fruit To Your Diet
There’s one form of sugar we won’t tell you to cut out of your diet and that is fruit. Mother Nature’s candy, as it’s often called, fruit does contain sugar, but it’s naturally occurring fruit sugar that won’t spike blood glucose quite like regular table sugar would. This is because fruit sugar contains part fructose and part glucose and only glucose impacts blood sugar.
Fruit is also chalk full of dietary fibre, antioxidants, and vitamins, so is a great addition to any diet plan.
Check Your Calorie Intake
If you’re constantly getting sugar cravings, you might want to check your calorie intake. While it’s fine to use a lower calorie diet to promote weight loss results, if you take your calories too low, this can actually lead to problems. You’ll struggle to sustain your diet and cravings will get the best of you.
Moderation is always the smarter route to go. Try adding back 100-200 calories to your day and see if that doesn’t help to reduce your sugar cravings.
Eat Snacks With Protein Regularly
Along with not getting enough calories into your diet, another factor that can lead to sugar cravings is not eating often enough. If you are going five or six hours between meals, it’s not surprising your body would start to crave fast energy – in the form of sugar.
Try spacing your meals and snacks apart better. If you can aim to go no longer than three to four hours between meals, that’s your best option. With those meals, also be sure to get some protein in as well, as this will help you feel fuller longer. Aim for 10 grams or more for snacks and 20 or more grams for meals, depending on what your protein needs happen to be.
Try Peppermint Gum
Next time a craving strikes, use this trick: pop a stick of sugar-free peppermint gum. This accomplishes three things.
First, it gives you something sweet and fresh that doesn’t contain any calories (or very little). Second, it keeps your mouth busy, thus ensuring that you aren’t able to put other food in your mouth for the time being. Third, you may just find that it helps to suppress your hunger as well.
With so many benefits, it’s worth a try. Often cravings are fleeting so even if it can just delay you from eating for 10-15 minutes, you might find once that time passes, you no longer want to eat anyway.
Manage Your Stress
Finally, be sure that you are taking steps to manage your stress level. The fact is, when we consume simple sugars, our body gets a hit of serotonin, which immediately makes us feel calm, relaxed, and in a better mood. So is it any wonder that we are craving sugar when stressed?
There is a direct connection here and your brain knows it.
So keep these tips in mind and don’t let those sugar cravings get the best of you any longer. You can get this under control if you employ the right strategies.