Healthy Ways to Satisfy Your Sugar Cravings and Silence Your Sweet Tooth
We have all heeded the call of the Sweet Tooth once or twice; it is warm, comforting, and admittedly seductive.
But we also know that giving in to its beckon always comes at a price, whether it be immediate guilt, next-day blemishes, or weight gain. We know we should stay away, but somehow we get lured back into its sweet, comforting arms.
Good news is, what may appear to be “lack of self-control” is not entirely our fault. And we are not alone in our complaisance.
Multiple studies have shown that humans are programmed to want sweet things because sugar stimulates the release of serotonin, a hormone that makes us feel comforted and more emotionally stable. I guess that’s why we reach for the tub of (insert-your-favourite-flavour-here) ice cream after an emotional event.
While indulging yourself occasionally is not the end of the world, the problem starts when we regularly consume copious amounts of sugar. Especially considering modern diets are already heavily laden with processed foods that appear healthy but secretly contain large amounts of sugar.
Good news is there are healthy ways to fight your sugar cravings and win.😉 We have prepared a list, in order from short-term actions to long-term changes, to help you out in times of need.
1) Reach for a healthy alternative
There are several foods to satisfy your sweet tooth that are low in calories and will not cause a spike in your blood sugar.
Fruits & Dried Fruits
If you’re craving a chocolate bar, a can of coke, or a slice of cake, eat an apple, a fig or some frozen grapes instead. Want to be creative? Grill a pineapple!
It is also acceptable to go for dried fruits, which are rich in fiber, iron, and vitamins. Dates have the highest amount of antioxidants of any dried fruit and are low on the glycemic index scale, meaning they do not cause a spike in your blood sugar and keep you satiated for longer.
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and is healthy for you when consumed in moderation. When purchasing dark chocolate, pay attention to the percentage on the box. The higher the percentage, the less sugar it is likely to contain. Also choose the plain variety, as you never know what additives will be included in your chocolate when they add nuts, raisins, or seeds.
Granola is also a healthy substitute for your over-the-counter sugary treat. Several stores and online shops let you mix your own granola based cereal, or you can opt for purchasing a premixed brand from your local grocery store. Either way, don’t forget to check the sugar, calories, and source oils in your granola. Keep the portions small and enrich your bowl with fruits when you are craving a larger meal.
Fruit Juice or Hot Chocolate
Freshly squeezed fruit juice or homemade hot chocolate will also soothe your sugar craving while being a healthy option. Do not purchase store-brand juices, as they are built to make you crave more sugary foods in the long run. When making your own hot chocolate, once again, choose dark chocolate and make it with low-fat milk.
2) Eat before hunger strikes
A drop in your blood sugar will increase your sugar cravings. As your body goes into starvation mode, it will crave foods that will give it instant energy. But you will most likely overeat and any sugar the body doesn’t immediately burn, will store as fat. To avoid this, eat small meals regularly and always keep snacks at hand.
If you need help regulating, planning and tracking your meals, Fitwell’s nutritional coaching and calorie tracking features help you eat regularly and find healthy snack options that will keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day.
3) Distract yourself
If the sugar craving is too strong, and nothing but the most processed of foods will do, then do your best to walk away. Go outside! Go for a walk, a bike ride, or just sit in the park and read a book. Fresh air will increase your metabolism and improve your heart rate. Your blood sugar will level out (if you are not already starving that is) and you will feel less inclined to binge on sugary treats. When you get back to what you are doing, you’ll realise that your sugar tooth has waned or disappeared. If you are still still craving something, you’ll find it easier to reach for one of the healthier options above.
4) Learn the amount of sugar in your food and know what foods to avoid
Food is not always as healthy as it seems!
Your average, over-the-counter yoghurt can contain more sugar than three cups of grapes, three large peaches, or 300 gr of strawberries. (fruit sugar content retrieved from the United States Department of Agriculture)
Consuming foods that are high in sugar will increase the frequency and intensity of your cravings. Always look at the sugar content in your food. Shop ahead of time and have healthy options at hand.
Use Fitwell Premium to help you make your grocery store! Fitwell’s meal-logging feature can provide you with further insight into your food, helping you become more knowledgeable about your diet. It can also give you more information on your daily carb consumption and provide you with healthy meal suggestions to help you gain better eating habits.
5) Quit refined sugars cold turkey or ease them out of your diet slowly
Refined sugars, also known as processed sugars, can have the same effect on your body as any addictive substance. Eliminating these sugars from your diet cold turkey can help your body get over its addiction. Your blood sugar will be more stable and you will reduce energy crashes. In the long run, you will suffer less from sugar cravings and feel satiated for longer periods of time just by consuming healthier foods.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends decreasing an adult’s sugar intake to 10% of their daily calorie intake. They further suggest a decrease to 5% for benefits to your dental health. Although they recognise that the 5% figure is based on low-quality evidence, they also point out that studies have shown no harmful effects of such a significant decrease.
In conclusion, even the WHO agrees that you won’t regret decreasing your sugar intake by divorcing from refined sugars and choosing healthy alternatives.
Learn more about your food, track your calorie intake and get helpful fitness tips with the Fitwell App and get your sweet tooth under control!
Increase your chances of success by 78%!
Fitwell helps you get fit and live better. With personal exercise programs and healthy nutrition plans, we are always by your side.