How to get rid of sugar cravings

How to get rid of sugar cravings

Almost everyone’s had some experience with sugar cravings so understands just how difficult they can be to overcome.  These cravings are your body’s way of telling you that your last meal didn’t supply the correct mix of carbs, proteins and fats.  So, to eliminate sugar cravings, you need to supply the missing ingredient.  They’re an easy addition to the diet and will leave you feeling satisfied and energised…

What causes high blood sugar?

Before we get onto the solution remember that, of the three macronutrients (carbs, proteins and fats), carbohydrates is the only one able to alter blood sugar.  This is because their starches break down very quickly into sugars in the body and are used as an immediate energy source. But when blood sugar becomes too high, insulin is released, resulting in a signal to various cells to ‘open’ to receive this excess glucose.  Your muscle and liver cells are probably already topped up with fuel from your previous meal (except if you exercised at a relatively high intensity after your last meal), so the cells most likely to take this excess fuel are the fat cells (converting the glucose into fat very swiftly).  So – every time you eat a meal that’s high in carbohydrates (in particular, processed carbs or even high-starch wholegrains), you’re setting yourself up for body fat storage.

Not only that, but high sugar-release carbohydrates also result in a release of serotonin (our ‘feel-good’ hormone), but they fall short on supplying adequate fuel because they are ‘burnt up’ so quickly.  Our brain’s subsequent cry for more fuel is ironically perceived as a need for more carbohydrates (due to the resulting seratonin release) and so – when we respond with carbohydrates – we perpetuate a vicious cycle. 

How to manage blood sugar

Proteins and fats actually control blood sugar levels very effectively by ‘dampening’ the rising blood sugar, ensuring that you don’t produce the high insulin levels that lead to fat storage or sugar cravings.  Decades of mainstream media influence and resulting social perception has resulted in a misunderstanding that it’s fat that causes excess body fat storage. While certain fats should be avoided at all costs, like trans fatty acids and hydrogenated fats (both found in processed and fried foods), others are extremely beneficial to health, assuming you use a high quality product.  Choose fats like butter, as well as cold pressed vegetable oils like coconut, flax, hemp, olive and nut oils.

Adopt these principles for good weight and health

In summary, the best way to stay lean and healthy is to avoid or eliminate processed carbohydrates and to eat some form of good-quality protein and fat with every meal or snack.  Once you start following these principles, you should start to see a big difference in emotional stability, increased energy and a reduction in sweet cravings. Prove it to yourself … next time you do have a sugar craving, eat some protein and/or fat and then wait 20 minutes to see if the craving abates.

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Tanya Wyatt, Happy Valley pond

Tanya Wyatt

Tanya has written regularly for various national health and fitness magazines like Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, Marie-Claire and Shape (she also served on Shape’s advisory board), as well as for SA  newspaper publications.

In 2003, Tanya wrote two internationally released health and fitness books.

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