Ice cream soda, sugar on the top, does the idea of dessert make you hop? Are you always yearning for that sweet dish after a heavy lunch or dinner? Do you have a sweet- tooth? Sugar craving is a common phenomenon, experienced on a day to day basis, especially after a bad breakup! The more you munch onto these sugary delights, the more you crave them. Indulging into these sugary snacks can prove to be detrimental and lead to problems such as binge eating, weight gain and heart diseases to name a few.
The scientific reason behind sweet craving is the fact that its taste releases endorphins that relax us and gives us a natural ‘high’, according to Susan Moored, MS, and dietitian.
So here are a few ways to control yourself and maintain the sugar intake:
- Do not skip meals
Skipping meals is definitely not the way to shed those extra pounds! Studies have shown that taking long gaps between meals or skipping them may lead to irrational eating behavior, and urge you to eat more fatty and sugary food. This ultimately leads to overeating and intake of excessive calories. Instead, you should eat in regular intervals of 3-4 hours, with small helpings. This provides you with the required energy to complete your task, and increases your metabolism. As a result, you can avoid hunger pangs and binge eating by dodging that mid-afternoon slump while keeping the sugar consumption under control.
- Distract yourself
You absolutely don’t need that extra donut, no matter how appetizing and mouth-watering it may appear! But taking one bite won’t hurt. The moment this thought crosses through your mind, get up, and start doing some work, to take your mind off things. As these sugar cravings start kicking in, drink loads of water (rather than aerated drinks!), and take your dog out for a walk or do any kind of physical activity, start reading a novel or watch TV. Mostly, these yearnings start their course during evenings and post dinner or lunch. Best way to circumvent them is to go for an evening walk and sweat out a little.
- Learn to say ‘No’
This is probably the most difficult thing to do in situations like these. Learning to say ‘No’ can make all the difference. Control your impulses, and explain yourself as to why you don’t need to have that extra chocolate chip cookie. You do not need to have desserts after dinner every night. Doesn’t matter if your friend is offering you his piece of cake, and insisting you to have more just because it’s his birthday. You always have the right to decline politely. Don’t give in to such situations, work towards self- control.
- Combine junk with healthy
It adds as a bonus, one to satisfy your craving, and second, to receive the required nutrients which your body requires. Opt for foods which have some nutritional value. Naturally, for people with a sweet tooth, stopping at one granola bar seems next to impossible. And it doesn’t even quench your appetite. One thing you can try is to eat something healthy to compensate and fill your stomach. For example, you could mix different fruits with your daily dose of ice cream sundae, dip a banana with chocolate sauce, or cut small pieces of chocolate on top of your fruit salad.
- Switch to healthier sweet snacks
If you absolutely need something sugary, then why not switch to sweet healthier alternatives? Fresh fruits have a natural sweetness which is much better than the artificial sweeteners used in juices, both taste wise and health wise. You could try nonfat yogurt, which is an excellent sweet alternative and on top of that, provides you with healthy nutrients like fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and proteins.
- Keep low supply of sugar in your house
This is the best advice that someone could give to a sugar fanatic. The best way to avoid is to not buy it at the first place. In fact, if the problem is becoming severe, keep the sugar out of your house. (This implies to Halloween season too) Since there will be no supply, you won’t have to worry about losing control. You might get strong impulses to go to the market, and buy all that you want to, but that is something which you need to work upon. However, 90% of the population will be too lazy to actually get up and walk all the way for just a fling.
- Plan your meals for the day
As tedious as it may seem, it is actually a very effective way to safeguard you against diabetes! As the holiday season takes its course, it becomes all the more difficult to avoid these sweets temptations. Try to make a schedule as to what all is being prepared for the different courses, and how much you need to eat. Try to avoid an empty stomach, as it increases your sugar cravings. If you are the one throwing a party, switch to healthier sweet alternatives. People will thank you later for it. If you already had that one chocolate bar, you don’t need to indulge into another, because your quota for the day is done.
- Chew gum
Whenever in doubt, grab some gum! Many nutrition advisors have suggested that those with the problem of sugar craving can restrain it by chewing a stick of gum. Also, it reduces your food cravings, since mentally, it appears as if you are already eating as your jaw is working. Research has proven that chewing gum for even 45 minutes will gradually decrease your calorie consumption by 10 percent. It is a very helpful tool to suppress sweet and salty snack yens.
- Make way for fruits
All hail the great fruit kingdom! Ditch those packaged and processed fruit juices, with preservatives and artificial sweeteners and shift to natural fruit juices, made at home. Whenever you get a sugar craving alert, always keep some fruit in hand. That way, it will keep your stomach full too. Fruits can be your lifesavers and you won’t even realize when you stop having these sugar fascinations and rely entirely on fruits. Stock up on seeds, dry fruits and nuts if you are in dire need of some variety.
- Ask yourself, do you really need it?
You know yourself better than anyone else. Before reaching out for those Ferrero rochers, think twice and ask yourself whether you absolutely need to eat that right now or not. If you know that you are an emotional eater, then try not to get stressed, angry, sad, nervous, or guilty for petty reasons. So, take a moment before reaching out to those sweet delights. Drink water, let some time pass, take deep breaths and ask yourself how much hungry you are on a level of 1 to 10. Accordingly, prepare food. Attacking sweets without thinking twice will guarantee over- eating and overdose of sugar. Always, be honest with yourself, which is the only way to battle cravings.
Although sugar is considered harmless, it can be the cause to a host of health problems. As it is always said, prevention is better than cure.