Understanding Sugar Cravings
Sugar cravings are common and are mostly caused by a bad diet or bad habits that can reprogram your brain to make you feel like you need the sugar. There are also other medical reasons for constant sugar cravings such as nutritional deficiency. The crave sensations in your brain is due to your temporal lobe, which is responsible for memory and habits. The first taste, or even just the thought of giving into your craving, raises dopamine levels in your brain, making you crave more sugar.
Diet. Aside from your brain, the diet you have can cause cravings for sugary foods. When you don't consume enough protein and fats your body's sugar level rises at an abnormal rate creating a feeling of a quick energy fix a.k.a sugar cravings.
Mineral Imbalances. Magnesium is used in the regulation of glucose, insulin, and the neurotransmitter dopamine; a deficiency can manifest in the form of intense sugar cravings, especially for chocolate. Zinc is needed for proper insulin and glucose utilization; a deficiency can also lead to sugar cravings.
Sleep. A lack of proper sleep can affect your upper brain functions. The American Heart Association reveals a link between sleep deprivation and high-calorie food cravings, particularly in women. Your internal clock plays a significant role in the hormones that promote and suppress food cravings. Getting proper sleep every night at the same time can help decrease your sugar cravings and unnecessary weight gain.
Emotional Stress. (A.K.A Depression, anxiety, moods) “When we're stressed out, we have a high level of a hormone called cortisol, and we crave sugar because if we eat some sugar, we will actually get another hormone called serotonin, which is calming and relaxing,” Scritchfield says.
This is also known as emotional eating. If you are constantly stressed you can try meditation, yoga, reading, nature hikes or baths to reduce cortisol levels in your brain.
Now that we understand where sugar cravings stem from, here are 5 foods you can eat to that will help you bust sugar cravings before they start.
Dark Chocolate. With 70% or more of cocoa. Dark chocolate, as much as it can never be compared to the sweet version, has many benefits you might want to take advantage of. Aside from being extremely nutritious to your body it is also: - A Powerful Source of Antioxidants - Improves Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure - Raises HDL and Protects LDL From Oxidation - Reduces Heart Disease Risk - Protects Your Skin From the Sun - Improves Brain Function
Drink. Most often than not we mistaken thirst for hunger. If you start to feel sugar cravings before or after a meal, drink water or if you prefer a herbal tea for the flavor. Because teas naturally have sugar it may calm your cravings.
Butter. Such as peanut, almond, avocado etc. These fatty foods will keep you satisfied for hours and also calm your sugar cravings as they are naturally more sweetened.
Fermented Foods. Tangy flavors can satisfy your taste buds instead of sugar. Try eating sauerkraut, tangerine, grapefruit or lime.
Cinnamon. This spice can help satisfy your sugar cravings because of it's naturally sweet flavor. Try sprinkling some cinnamon into your oatmeal, yogurt, coffee or toast.
Because sugar cravings are most common among women, make sure you also remember that it's ok to give yourself a treat every once in a while. If you are on your period or just need extra motivation or a boost to your day don't feel guilty over a sucking candy, ice cream or wafer. Treating your sugar cravings with moderation will also help reduce emotional eating as often as possible.
What are some of your tricks for sugar cravings?