3 Approaches to Getting a Handle on Sugar Cravings

3 Approaches to Getting a Handle on Sugar Cravings

Sugar is abundant in the Standard American Diet (SAD). Sugar is often hidden and combined with fat and salt to make it even more appealing to our taste buds. What would it feel like to not crave certain foods? What would it feel like to enjoy the healthy foods? It is possible. Here are 3 simple steps to taking control of your diet and cravings.

Balance the Diet

Many people think they have to completely remove these sugary foods and that isn’t entirely true. It is recommended to keep added sugars to about 5% of your caloric intake – which is 25g or about 6 tsp of sugar if you measured it out. 

Look at food labels and add up what your intake is for a day. How do you compare to this 25g limit recommended? If you are unfamiliar with the food label, scan down about 3/4ths of the way to Total Carbohydrate and a subheading there is Added Sugars. This is what we are referring to in the diet and most concerned with for health.

Balancing your meals is the best way to maintain sustained energy and keep hunger and cravings at bay. Protein and fat help satiate you and control blood sugar spikes from the carbohydrates we eat. So for example, when you have rice, you will want to keep the serving to about ½ cup and include a lean protein and lots of colorful vegetables. 

Increase Your Dopamine Response in Healthy Ways

Certain foods promote dopamine production. Dopamine is that feel-good neurotransmitter. While sugar and social media give us a quick dopamine hit, these aren’t behaviors we want to reinforce for health reasons. There are healthy food options that will give a mood boost. These include almonds, avocados, beef, chicken, eggs, green tea, watermelon and yogurt. You will want to steer away from foods with saturated fats because these can disrupt dopamine signaling. 

Lifestyle behaviors like exercise, quality sleep, listening to music, playing with your pet, spending time in nature, doing something creative and meditation all contribute to an increased sense of wellbeing. You won’t feel the need to run to a sugary treat with these activities in place.

Is it Time to Dig Deeper?

Sometimes there are more foundational things that thwart your efforts. If you are someone that has tried over and over again but to no avail end up eating those sugary foods, you may have more going on in the body that needs to be addressed first.

We encourage specialty testing for many patients to get to root causes of their symptoms. 

  • There are gut imbalances, like overgrowth of candida, that can cause abnormal levels of craving. 
  • When hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin are out of balance, you will not feel satiated and have stronger feelings of hunger. 
  • Another common reason for cravings is nutrient deficiencies. Common deficiencies related to cravings include magnesium, the B-vitamins, certain minerals or not getting enough proteins with the amino acid tyrosine. 
  • Excess weight and insulin resistance are culprits for food cravings as well. We can assess and provide custom plans to address these areas.

Want to quit cold turkey? That isn’t a terrible idea for the short-term but you will want to put things into place to avoid relapse later. We offer Blood Sugar Rebalance Programs that will kick your cravings.

 

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