One of the most frequent questions I receive is "how do I stop my sugar cravings?". Everyone gets those nagging sugar cravings once in awhile. Some people more than others. How do you stop them? Do you just give in and grab a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, topped with whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry? No!
You may be sitting there thinking, "but Lisa, I only have one dessert a day". Before you say that, take a look at all of the food labels in your house. It is amazing how much sugar is added to almost all processed foods. I am not just talking about the "typical" junk processed foods. Here are just a few food labels to take a look at:
- processed meats (lunch meat, sausage etc)
- peanut butter/ nut butter
- salad dressing (especially low fat salad dressing)
- dried fruit (as if fruit doesn't contain enough natural sugar)
So let's talk about why sugar is so bad for you. I am not going to get into every single detail about why you shouldn't eat sugar (that can be a whole different blog post) but here are a few examples of how sugar harms your health:
1. Sugar causes blood glucose to spike and plummet.
2. Sugar increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
3. Sugar interferes with immune function
4. A high- sugar diet often results in chromium deficiency
5. Sugar accelerates aging.
6. Sugar causes tooth decay
7. Sugar can cause gum disease, which can lead to heart disease.
8. Sugar affects behavior and cognition in children.
9. Sugar increases stress,
10. Sugar takes the place of important nutrients.
So, now that I've scared you by explaining why sugar is so bad for you and how it is hidden in many food items, I'll move on to the good news! There is a way to beat these sugar cravings!
1. Eat more protein. Eating protein helps stabilize your blood sugar levels which will reduce those sugar cravings. Some protein rich foods are:
- Meat protein- Organic chicken, salmon, red meat (in moderation), eggs, turkey
- Beans & lentils
- Kefir or greek yogurt (unsweetened)
2. Consume healthy fats. Your body burns sugar or fat for energy. If you stop consuming sugar, start eating more HEALTHY fat such as:
- Organic or grass-fed butter and ghee
- Coconut oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Omega- 3s (ex. wild caught pacific salmon, walnuts, chia and flax seeds)
3. Consume more high-fiber foods, especially vegetable, nuts and seeds. Fiber helps you stay full longer.
If you are anything like me and just need a sweet fix once in awhile here are some alternatives to use rather than choosing that yucky white processed sugar.
1. Fruit, especially berries.
4. Local honey
7. Brown Rice Syrup
Thanks for reading! I hope this helps with those nagging cravings.
Until next time!