Sugar will be the death of us all.
Alright, it might not be the main cause, but it will definitely play a role in putting most people into an early grave.
It’s also making us all fat as hell.
It’s not our fault. The stuff is designed to make our little brains want more, more, more!
“If more people could learn to pinpoint the reasons why they experience sugar cravings they would have better tools to avoid breaking their nutritional goals” explains Dr. Niket Sonpal. Dr. Sonpal is New York internist and gastroenterologist and faculty member at Touro College of Medicine.
Sugar cravings are a formidable opponent to anyone trying to stay on a nutritious path. Sugar cravings can attack in the middle of the day or night, and it takes the will power of a superhero to say no to such temptation.
But what if we can identify and address the underlying reason why we feel such a need for sugar?
Here are three common reasons people crave doughnuts, soda, and cake how to keep from stuff your face.
1. You don’t want sugar – You’re actually just dehydrated
Many people mistake thirst for sugar cravings.
“In reality, what you need to do first is drink water and observe how you feel. We know that we want something fresh and cold and we usually identify that with sugary drinks. When our bodies have a deficiency in fluids, it can’t efficiently breakdown glycogen, and this causes the urge to consume something sugary.”
Solution: Chug a glass of room temperature water. Then chug another. Your cravings should pass, and you’ll eat less, sugar or otherwise.
2. You’re not eating enough protein
Dr. Sonpal suggests taking a good, long look at your protein intake.
“Many popular diet plans like Paleo, Vegetarian, and Keto seek to reduce sugars in your food. Protein reduces the speed with which your body processes sugars and in turn helps you need lower amounts to experience that reward. Eggs, black beans, broccoli, and chicken are really healthy ways to get that protein in to quench that yearn for sugar,” suggests Dr. Sonpal.
3. You tried to quit cold turkey
Some habits need to be abandoned cold. Drugs. Booze. But sugar?
It’s actually smarter to do it slowly.
“Our bodies view sugar as a reward. But too much of a good thing is not good at all in this case. By partaking in overconsumption of sugar you are reinforcing your body’s need for that reward, essentially becoming addicted to it,” explains Dr. Sonpal. “But like many addictions, it is not a reasonable or sustainable strategy to quit cold turkey. If you feel as though you are out of control or moody without your first soft drink of the day or until you have a piece of chocolate, you need to consider slowly draining your system from that need for sugar.”
Solution: Whether it’s year-round holiday candy consumption or daily trips to Sonic, you should have a good idea of how most of your sugar consumptions happens. Aim to eliminate one of those things from your diet each week. If you’re just not sure, use an app to track it all.
4. You don’t get enough fiber
Fiber helps clean out your system, and it is processed more slowly by the body. Fiber helps you feel fuller for longer effectively reducing your craving for mid-meal snacks.
“Many people will be very deliberate with their decision to reduce sugar in their meals but will ultimately cave in when their body needs a snack because a lot of the snacks we have in our pantry have sugar in them. Fiber and lots of water would help you stay full for longer periods,” adds Dr. Sonpal.
Solution: Adopt new ways to add fiber to your meals.