It’s natural to want something sweet, because
humans are designed to like sweet things – a clever physiological trick to save
us from the poisonous plants and berries, which usually have a bitter taste.
Trying to go sugar free? Want to cut the sweet stuff from your diet but can't
control the cravings?
In this article we aim
to provide some insight into why we have sugar cravings and how to avoid sugar
cravings. Sometimes it's not an easy task to stick to, but hopefully
these tips and tricks can help you learn more about how to avoid sugar.
11 ways to avoid sugar cravings
Food cravings are intense or
uncontrollable desires for specific foods. The types of foods that people crave
are highly variable, but these are often processed junk foods that are high in
sugar. Let’s dive in and discover how to avoid sugar cravings.
blood sugar levels
Eat small, regular meals and healthy snacks
about every three to four hours, rather than eating large meals two
or three times a day. Stronger
and irresistible desires for sugar all boil down to one thing: a lack of
balancing the sugar in your blood.
If you don't eat enough, or decide to skip a
meal, then you're more likely to binge eat when you next see food. And if you
go shopping on an empty stomach, you'll be more inclined to buy more than you
need and more junk food too. Avoiding sugar cravings is easier said than done,
especially if you have a sweet tooth, but by making sure you feel full should
help the cravings subside.
Make sure you have a large portion of protein
in every meal and have handy protein-based snacks for when you’re feeling
peckish. Protein is great as it doesn’t affect blood sugar and will help you to
feel fuller for longer.
white for wholegrain
Another tip to avoid sugar cravings is to swap
white refined foods for the wholegrain variety, as the white stuff behaves like
sugar in the body and wreaks havoc on blood sugar. Include unrefined whole
grains such as whole wheat bread, brown basmati rice, wholegrain pasta, oats
the sugary stuff
When thinking how to avoid sugar, perhaps the most obvious
answer is to cut down on foods such as cakes, biscuits, pastries, cookies,
chocolate, cola, etc. as they make things worse. The more you have of it, the
more you will want it in the future. Sugar has addictive qualities and isn't
very good for our bodies (especially our teeth). Find out more here about the effects
that artificial sweeteners can have on us.
6) Go for
If you're craving something sweet, then fruit
will give you that sweet satisfaction you need but with far fewer consequences
and the added benefit of lots of vitamins and fibre. It's win-win. Eating more
fruit is a great way to avoid
the caffeine & alcohol
When learning how to avoid sugar, it helps to understand what
you put in your body. Stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine can be found in
tea, coffee, cola, fizzy drinks and chocolate, these will increase adrenaline
and raise blood sugar. So, avoid these empty calories and swap them for some
filtered water or herbal tea instead. If you’re a coffee lover, check out these
30 surprising facts about caffeine.
8) Suck on
an emergency sweet
If you’re having a strong desire for sugar and
you're in a bind, then suck on a hard-boiled sweet. It'll take a lot longer to
get through and will help to satisfy your craving. Just make sure you stick to
only having one and don't start chowing down on them.
One of the best tricks to avoid sugar is to exercise. It
will keep your mind occupied, make you feel better and help you to burn off any
excess calories you may have consumed. But don't undo a good workout by using
it as an excuse to "treat" yourself to something sweet. To work off a
single Mars bar you'd have to walk for 1 hour & 42 minutes or go for a
Your appetite is largely affected by hormones
that fluctuate throughout the day. Sleep deprivation disrupts thos
fluctuations, and may lead to poor appetite regulation and strong cravings.
Studies have shown that sleep-deprived people are up to 55% more likely to
become obese, compared to people who get enough sleep. For this reason alone,
getting good sleep may be one of the most powerful ways to avoid sugar.
Supplement your diet
Take effective supplements that assist in the
control of insulin such as chromium, magnesium, cinnamon and 5HTP (Serotonin).
What happens to our bodies when we eat sugar?
Every time we eat, the levels of sugar in
our blood stream rises. This triggers the release of the hormone called insulin
which has the job of regulating blood sugar levels by taking the sugar out of
the blood and into the cells.
However, excessive consumption of sugar or
refined foods like white bread and pasta upset the balance and produce a spike
in blood sugar levels.
The body responds by producing too much
insulin which causes blood sugar levels to lower. This is when we experience
energy slumps, feel irritable or faint and dizzy.
The usual response is to reach for more
sweet foods or stimulants (tea, coffee and chocolate) to boost energy again.
Unfortunately, this only adds to the roller coaster of high and low blood sugar
So, it’s down to this rollercoaster that we
crave sugar. In order to control our cravings and learn how to avoid sugar, we need to
balance our blood sugar levels.
Next, check out all the different types of sugar and how to tell them apart.
Rosie Millen, the founder of Miss Nutritionist, trained at the renowned Institute of Optimum Nutrition. Graduating with a Diploma in Nutritional Therapy, she is a fully qualified nutritionist therapist and a qualified Functional Medicine practitioner.
She is also a member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) which is the professional body for nutritional therapists.