Come on now who doesn’t love something sweet? You see the thing with sugar is that it tastes oh so g-o-o-d.
The trouble is most of us simply enjoy the sugar rush a bit too much. Not good for the body or the diet, particularly if it’s your goal to lose weight. And because sugar is something which has become so entrenched within our diets, when we don’t have anything sweet to eat, we crave it.
This craving often leads to over indulgence and before you know it you’ve gained another 20 pounds and a guilty conscious. Worse still if the over indulgence is sustained over a long period, you’re setting yourself up for a number of serious health risks.
Sugar also messes with the chemicals in your brain which in turn affects your mood. Have you ever noticed how ‘happy’ you feel when tucking into something sugary? Then when the sugar rush has past you’re left feeling a bit flat and craving for more?
What is sugar
First off it’s a carbohydrate and therefore a main source of energy for the body. We therefore need a certain amount of sugar in our diets to allow us to function properly.
Sugar is further broken down into two broad categories:
Good or natural sugars: Good sugars are natural, unprocessed and plant based as in the case of fruits, vegetables, oatmeal and wholegrain products. They are naturally rich in dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals and relatively low in calories compared to the second categories of sugars we will look at in just a moment. These sugars take longer for the body to break down and therefore you use up more energy. Natural sugars are considered good so long as they are consumed in reasonable measures.
Bad or refined sugars: Bad sugars are pretty much the opposite. They are unnatural, highly processed, with lots of additional chemicals. These sorts of sugars are found in many treat foods and drinks such as; cookies, chocolates, cakes, potato chips, alcoholic and soft drinks. They are high in calories but contain very little dietary fibre, vitamins or minerals as these have been stripped away during the chemical process. You eat too many of these types of sugars and you’ll end up doing some serious damage to your health.
How Can You Stop Sugar Craving?
Be slow to cut it out: Don’t go on the rampage and completely ban all sugar from your diet. You’ve probably already tried that one and ended up wanting sugar more than ever. It’s OK to eat a treat once in a while. Remember you do need to reward yourself for all the hard work you’re putting into your diet in the first place.
Go cold turkey: Conversely you might be one of the lucky few who can survive a sugar cold turkey (I know I don’t fall into this group). If so, try cutting out all the bad or unnatural sugars for a week to two weeks. You’ll no doubt struggle to get past the first few days but if you can get to the end of your ‘sugar fast’ you’ll have succeeded in training your body to do well without.
Understand the why: Educate yourself on what’s going on for you and your body and why it is you think you need the sugar. Amazon have a few great books on the subject which come highly recommended. I suggest you get your hands on at least one of these titles;
- Beat Sugar Addiction Now!: The Cutting-Edge Program That Cures Your Type of Sugar Addiction and Puts You on the Road to Feeling Great – and Losing Weight!
Introduce regular, balanced meals: If you’re eating a regular diet you will not feel the hunger spikes which trigger the need for a sugary snack. Pack your diet with fibre and protein rich foods to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Also eating at regular intervals during the day speeds up your metabolism, so anything you do eat gets burned up more quickly.
Chew gum: Make that sugar-free gum of course. It suppresses your appetite and in doing so dulls the craving for sugary snacks.
Go all fruit and nut: Fruit and nuts have high levels of natural fibres which have the desired knack of making you feel fuller for longer. Fruits have the added edge of giving you the sugar kick because of all the natural sugars they contain. Next time you want to reach over for a sweet treat substitute this with a healthier snack.
Let’s get physical: Not only is exercise a great distraction for when you feel a sugar splurge coming on, but you’re also getting fitter and burning extra calories in the process. Make sure you choose an activity which is something you enjoy so you will stick at it. A few suggestions include; running, walking, cycling, playing a sport of your choice. There are also a number of great home based exercises which will get you geared up to working out such as Zumba Fitness Exhilarate and Billy Blanks pt 24 7.
Don’t let your stomach do the shopping: This is a biggie. Ever noticed how when you go shopping whilst you’re hungry your shopping cart ends up resembling a candy shop? The craving for sweet stuff is just all too high when we are hungry and surrounded with lots of tempting goodies.
Avoid artificial sweeteners… like the plague: Full of chemicals, are not thought to add any benefit to you or your diet and there are medical studies that suggest such sweeteners may even contribute to weight gain!
Take a supplement: Add a supplement or two – there are a number of safe supplements you can try which will help regulate your blood sugar levels and ultimately reduce your cravings for sugar. Try Meratol or Capsiplex, both of which contain natural ingredients and help to suppress your appetite. Do bear in mind though that it is not advisable to rely on pills alone. They should compliment your overall approach to your diet.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you feel a sugar carving coming on and eventually you will learn to have them under control. It all takes time for the body to make a re-adjustment to your new way of being, so just keep pushing through and you’ll get there.
You may also be interested in:
- How to Stop Overeating: 5 Practical Tips to Help You Take Control of Your Food Urges
- Top Tips For Permanent Weight Loss
- “Carbohydrate ingestion, blood glucose and mood” – Benton D; 2002
- “Taste responses and preferences for sweet high-fat foods: evidence for opioid involvement” – Drewnowski A, Krahn DD, Demitrack MA, Nairn K, Gosnell BA; Feb 1992
- “Are artificial sweeteners a healthy substitute for sugar?” – Harvard
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