NEW DELHI: Sugar cravings can be a real problem for many people. They can be difficult to resist and can lead to overeating, obesity and other health problems. Before we dive into the solutions, let's first understand why we crave sugar. When we consume sugar, it triggers the release of dopamine in our brain, which gives us a feel-good experience. This is why we tend to reach for sugary foods when we are stressed, tired or sad.
Fortunately, there are some simple hacks that can help you control your sugar cravings and stay on track with your health and fitness goals.
One of the most effective hacks for controlling sugar cravings is to control your blood sugar levels. The key to this hack is to eat foods that are low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly foods raise your blood sugar levels. Foods that are high on the glycemic index cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a crash. This crash can trigger sugar cravings and cause you to reach for sugary snacks.
To avoid these spikes and crashes, try incorporating apple cider vinegar into your diet. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. You can add apple cider vinegar to your salad dressings, marinades, or even mix it with water and drink it before meals.I personally make sure that all my clients take apple cider vinegar before their carb-rich meals.
Another way to control your blood sugar levels and avoid sugar cravings is to eat more vegetables. Vegetables are low on the glycemic index and are also high in fibre, which helps to slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. Aim to eat a variety of different coloured vegetables every day, including leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and bell peppers.
A balanced diet that is rich in protein can also help to control blood sugar spikes and cravings. Protein is slow to digest, which means it can help to keep you feeling full for longer and prevent blood sugar spikes. Make sure to include protein in every meal and snack, such as chicken breast, eggs, Greek yogurt, or a protein shake.
In EFR's nutrition plans, I always suggest eating vegetables and protein before carbohydrates in order to control insulin levels which in turn curbs sugar cravings.
Often we mistake our thirst for hunger or sugar cravings. Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated throughout the day can reduce our sugar cravings significantly. Moreover, consuming herbal teas, coconut water, or other low-sugar beverages can help us stay hydrated while reducing our sugar intake.
In addition to these dietary hacks, there are some other strategies that can help you control your sugar cravings. One of the most effective is to practice mindful eating. This means paying attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues and being present while you eat. Avoid eating while distracted, such as while watching TV or scrolling through your phone.
Getting regular exercise can also help to control sugar cravings. Exercise helps to stabilise blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which can reduce sugar cravings. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
Sleep is crucial for our overall health, and inadequate sleep can lead to sugar cravings. When we are sleep deprived, lepton, the satiety hormone goes down, and ghrelin, the hunger hormone increases, which are the hormones that stimulate our appetite. When we are tired we have decision fatigue, and we may also be more drawn to sugary foods as they provide a quick energy boost. However, this short-lived high is followed by a crash, leaving us feeling fatigued and lethargic. This is why we crave sugar again, hoping to achieve that same high. By getting enough sleep and ensuring that our body is well-rested, we can reduce our sugar cravings significantly.
Stress can also be a trigger for sugar cravings, so finding ways to manage stress is important. This could include practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing, or engaging in a stress-reducing activity such as reading, listening to music, or taking a walk in nature.
In conclusion, controlling blood sugar levels is the ultimate hack for curbing sugar cravings. Incorporating apple cider vinegar, vegetables, and protein into your diet, practicing mindful eating, getting regular exercise, and managing stress can all help to control blood sugar levels and reduce sugar cravings. Try these hacks for yourself and see how much easier it is to resist those sugar cravings and stay on track with your health and fitness goals.
I would like to highlight that controlling sugar cravings is not about deprivation or strict diet regimes. It is about listening to our body, understanding our cravings, and adopting healthy habits that work for us. Begin by cutting out sugar gradually. When you cut out sugar entirely, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, potentially leading to a binge. Instead, begin by reducing your sugar intake by half for a week or two, and then aim to cut it even further. By making small changes in our lifestyle, we can reduce our sugar cravings and lead healthier, more fulfilling life.