Sugar_Cravings

Want sugar? 11 Ways to Stop your Cravings

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Let’s face it. Most of us enjoy a sweet treat. Craving sugar is common, and studies have shown that “sugar can have effects similar to a drug of abuse.” 1 There’s a great video post online to explain these effects.

Too much sugar can hurt our health. This is why the American Heart Association recommends limiting sugar to “6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men.” 2

So, when you are craving sugar, what should you do? Here are 11 ways to curb your cravings:

1. Change your environment. Sometimes your visual (and auditory) surroundings cue your cravings. That’s why food ads on TV are so effective! If this is the case, change your surroundings until your craving goes away.

2. Eat a piece of fruit. Fruit contains natural sugars, along with fiber. These natural sugars might help you curb those cravings, while the fiber is good for your health. Just watch your servings—the US Department of Agriculture recommends 1.5-2 cups of fruit per day for adults. Have a variety of fruit on hand and ready to eat when cravings creep up on you. I keep organic blueberries in my freezer, and in-season fruit in my fridge.

3. Chew gum or brush your teeth. Sugar-free gum or a quickly brushing your teeth can make your mouth feel fresh—and might lessen your desire for something sweet.

4. Go for a walk. The fresh air can really change your perspective. And, doing something healthy for your body (like going on a walk) might help you think about other healthy things you can do for your body.

5. Add spice. Spices add flavor and interest to foods and beverages that might otherwise tempt the need for sugar. Sprinkle cinnamon in your coffee instead of adding sugar or sugar substitute. Nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon make oatmeal flavorful and comforting, without the extra sugar.

6. Warm up a cup of tea. Something with mild flavor like herbal peppermint or ginger tea might help you satisfy a craving for another flavor.

7. Drink water. Sometimes when you feel hungry, you are simply dehydrated. So, try a glass of water the next time you are craving a sugary snack.

8. Make a smoothie. Combine flavors like strawberry and banana without the added sugar.

9. Get more sleep. When you are tired, you might crave sugary snacks to keep yourself awake. Make the most of your time by getting the recommended 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night.

10. Avoid added sugar in foods. Processed foods sometimes have hidden sugars. Check the ingredients list to avoid these sugar pitfalls.

11. Meditate or visualize a relaxing place. One study found that chocolate cravings could be curbed by imagery techniques. 3 And, this will also have an added benefit: reducing your stress!

How do you stop your sugar cravings? Let us know by commenting below!

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Notes:

  1. Rada P1, Avena NM, Hoebel BG. “Daily bingeing on sugar repeatedly releases dopamine in the accumbens shell.” Neuroscience. 2005;134(3):737-44.
  2. American Heart Association. “Sugar 101.” 2014. Accessed online 4.12.15 at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Sugar-101_UCM_306024_Article.jsp
  3. Kemps, Eva; Tiggemann, Marika. Modality-specific imagery reduces cravings for food: An application of the elaborated intrusion theory of desire to food craving.
    Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Vol 13(2), Jun 2007, 95-104