How to Decrease Your Sugar Cravings

kara

With Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all right around the corner I thought it was a good time to talk about sugar and get advice from my good friend, Nutrition & Wellness Coach Kara Stout. Below she shares 10 reasons why sugar is not your best friend and also 10 ways to decrease your sugar cravings.

10 reasons why sugar is NOT your best friend

1. Weight gain – Sugar can lead to weight gain because our cells do not require large amounts at one time, and the extra sugar is stored as fat. Sugar also slows down our metabolism.

2. Nutritional deficiency – Refined sugar lacks vitamins, minerals and fiber, therefore, making our bodies work even harder to digest it. In order to absorb sugar properly, our bodies actually have to deplete our own store of minerals and enzymes.

3. Fatigue – Because sugar takes our blood sugar on a roller coaster ride, first being pushed up high and then brought back down really low, we experience what we all know as a “sugar crash”.

4. Weakened immune system – If you are getting frequent colds or infections, take a look at your sugar consumption. If your immune system is weak, you will have a much more difficult time fighting off illness.

5. Aging and wrinkles – Sugar can lead to premature aging by damaging collagen and elastin.

6. Headaches & migraines – Sugar consumption can play a role in headaches and migraines.

7. Depression – Excessive sugar can lead to depression. Additionally, we may feel comforted right before and right after eating a cupcake, and we may anticipate it lifting our moods, however, this typically will be very temporary. Eating this sweet treat really didn’t get to the root of our stress or depression, so then we are back to square one.

8. Yeast infections – Sugar can contribute to yeast infections and increase the growth of yeast.

9. Cancers – Sugar can contribute to or lead to several cancers including ovarian and breast cancer.

10. Worsen PMS symptoms – Sugar consumption can worsen our symptoms, so limiting your sugar before your period and while experiencing symptoms may be helpful.

 

10 Ways to Decrease Your Sugar Cravings

1. Have a glass of water – Sometimes we crave sweets because we are dehydrated. Many people are chronically dehydrated {migraines, headaches, improper digestion, and bad breath can be additional signs of dehydration}. So, before you eat that cookie, drink a glass of water and wait for about 10 minutes.

2. Eat sweet veggies and fruits – Eat an apple, some berries, carrots or another favorite sweet veggie or fruit. People often notice that their sugar craving is gone after choosing these sweet healthier options, not to mention all the antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and phytonutrients you’ll consume!

3. Eat a healthy diet in general – Eating a healthy diet, especially incorporating green leafy veggies full of nutrition, can provide you with lots of energy. As I mentioned above, sometimes we reach for a sugary snack because we feel like we have no energy. Also, some studies suggest that people crave sugar because of an imbalance in serotonin. Nutritious carbohydrates, such as veggies, whole grains and fruit can satisfy serotonin needs.

4. Evaluate the amount of animal protein you consume – We have unique, individual needs when it comes to protein. Some people may require more protein than others while some require and/or prefer different sources of protein (animal vs. plant). Sometimes eating too much animal protein can cause sugar cravings, but so can eating too little. It’s important to find the right balance for you. I encourage you to experiment with either reducing or increasing your protein intake and see how you feel, how your body feels, and notice any changes with your sugar cravings and the effect on your energy level as well. Also, experiment with different types of protein, animal and plant, and notice the effect. Important side note: If you consume animal foods, I encourage you to choose high-quality, organic, grass-fed options.

5. Avoid processed & packaged foods that boast “fat-free” or “low-fat” – Large amounts of sugar {not only refined sugar, but oftentimes artificial sweeteners as well} have been added to these foods to compensate for the lack of flavor. Eating these will trigger a cycle of wanting more sugar and, therefore, lead to sugar cravings.

6. Get a little spicy – Add in those sweet spices like cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, cloves, or cardamom. These will add sweetness to your foods and drinks naturally and help with those cravings. Spices are also loaded with vitamins and minerals.

7. Use natural sweeteners – Natural sweeteners are gentler and kinder to our blood sugar compared to refined white sugar. Raw honey and maple syrup can be good options and contain vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. You want to be sure and buy 100% pure maple syrup and not the fake maple syrup that is actually corn syrup. Stevia is another great option. Even though natural sweeteners are much better options than refined white sugar, you still want to consume them in moderation.

8. Exercise – There are so many fitness options out there, and the key is to find activity you love and actually enjoy doing.  And don’t be afraid to try new things! Some of my favorites are: yoga, barre, Zumba, dance, walking, Pilates, and strength/toning classes. Physical activity offers many benefits, including balancing your blood sugar levels, increasing your energy, and decreasing stress, all of which can help in diminishing your sugar cravings.

9. Get plenty of beauty sleep – When we feel sleepy and tired, we crave energy. We then crave sugar to help boost our energy, which may temporarily help; however, will only make it worse for us after the sugar crash.

10. Create a non-food nourishment menu – Sometimes we may turn to food for comfort, but non-food sources can be much more rewarding and healthier. I encourage my clients to create a “non-food nourishment menu” as their go-to source for non-food sweetness in their lives. Some items on the menu could be: call a friend, ask for a hug, spend time with your family, go for a long walk outside, pray, read a good book, journal, soak in a bath, get a massage, mani/pedi, or listen to your favorite music. When you have a sugar craving, consider that what you might really want has nothing to do with sugar.

Quick Tip:

Aim for no more then 26 grams of sugar a day and make sure to read labels. You will be surprised how much sugar is hidden in foods that you didn’t even think had sugar to begin with.

Make sure to visit www.karastout.com for more tips and to learn about her customized coaching programs!

Thanks for reading!

xoxo

Nikki

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