Sugar cravings are one of the greatest battles for many clients that come to see me.
Sugar cravings may be due to a number of reasons, such as unstable blood sugar levels, stress, habit, emotional comfort or nutrient deficiencies.
Unfortunately, the more sugar and refined carbohydrates you eat, the more you crave them. It’s important to start to tailor your diet to reduce these refined, sugary foods and increase your intake of protein, healthy fats and leafy greens.
Here are some simple ways to reduce sugar cravings for good and get you off the blood sugar roller coaster.
1. Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake
Caffeine drives adrenalin production. In the presence of adrenalin, blood sugar levels increase. Not only will this excess sugar be stored as fat if it is not used but it will lead to irregular blood sugar levels which increase your sugar cravings.
Alcohol also causes fluctuations in blood sugar levels, resulting in cravings. A good alternative is a sparkling water with fresh lime or a small amount of kombucha.
2. Drink more water
Dehydration can often contribute to sugar cravings, so make sure you are drinking at least 1.5L of water per day. Given we wake up dehydrated, focus on getting the majority of your intake in the first half of the day.
3. Add healthy fats to your meals, particularly at lunch
Include things like avocado, olive oil, butter, nuts, seeds and oily fish. This helps to stabilize bloods guar levels and reduce cravings in the afternoon.
4. Add more greens to your meals
By adding more greens to your diet, your taste buds begin to change and you will become more sensitive to the sweetness of sugar. Over time, this will naturally decrease your overall intake of sugar. Greens are also loaded with magnesium, an essential nutrient for stabilizing blood sugars.
5. Eat sweet vegetables
When you are craving sugar, have some sweet vegetables instead. Roast sweet potato chips or a pumpkin and carrot soup can provide you with some sweetness but contain a number of nutrients and have a reduced impact on your blood sugar levels.
6. Avoid artificial sweeteners
These still cause a spike in blood sugars and ultimately more sugar cravings. Use more gentle sweeteners like coconut sugar or liquid stevia in small amounts.
7. Experiment with spices
Spices will naturally sweeten foods, support digestion and reducing cravings while providing you with antioxidants and nutritional support.
Try adding cinnamon to smoothies, fruit or tea. Nutmeg and cardamom are also great additions to meals.
8. Be mindful with fruit
Add a healthy fat with your fruit to avoid sugar crashes shortly after. Have a handful of nuts, a slice of cheese or some almond butter with your fruit.
9. Magnesium Glycinate and chromium
Magnesium and chromium supplementation can help to regulate blood sugars and curb cravings. Ask your practitioner for recommendations.
10. Apple cider vinegar in water throughout the day
This is a great one to balance blood sugars and curb those sugar cravings.
Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your water bottle and sip it over the course of the day.
11. What are you really craving? Slow down and enjoy sweetness in other ways that don’t involve food!
Make a list of activities that give you pleasure other than food. It might be going for a walk in the fresh air, a yoga class, an Epsom salt bath or reading your favourite magazine or a book with a cup of tea.
When you really do want to have something sweet after a meal, here are some healthier options:
- A couple of squares of 70% or more dark chocolate
- Healthy hot chocolate – In a saucepan, heat 1 cup of unsweetened almond or coconut milk with 1 tablespoon of raw cacao and 1-2 teaspoons of honey, coconut sugar or other sweetener
- Greek yoghurt with berries, cinnamon and a drizzle of honey
- Home made bliss balls made with nuts and dates or this coconut cranberry slice