Have you ever experienced a sugar craving so intense you could barely resist it? If so, you’re not alone. The problem with sugar cravings is that they can quickly send your healthy eating habits off the rails because they are so overwhelming. As a result, you are at risk of weight gain and conditions like diabetes, tooth decay, and gum disease. If you’ve ever wondered how to stop craving sugar, keep reading.
Possible Medical Reasons For Sugar Cravings
There are several possible medical reasons that could be the cause of your sugar cravings, thanks to fluctuating blood sugar levels. These include medications you take, possible hormonal imbalances, and health conditions like diabetes. However, you might also be experiencing psychological stress, or you may even be addicted to sugar. If you find your sugar cravings are overwhelming and occur more often than you’d like to admit, speak to your doctor to determine the cause.
Can Sugar Cravings Be A Sign Of Diabetes?
Yes, it could be possible that diabetes is causing increased appetite and thirst due to rising blood sugar levels that can contribute to sweet urges.
Diet And Deficiencies Causing Sugar Cravings
If you are in good health, your diet and potential related deficiencies might be at work:
Diet And Sugar Cravings
If you tend to bulk up on processed carbs and sugar-packed foods, this can lead to sugar cravings. Although you’d think eating these foods would satisfy your urges, the more of these unhealthy food choices you make, the more intense your sugar cravings become. Processed carbs are what are known as “refined” carbohydrates. That means they have minimal and, often, absolutely no nutritional value.
When you eat them, they provide unwanted empty calories, which can contribute to weight gain. Worse yet, when you eat them, your blood sugar skyrockets for a short while, leading to a sudden crash. It’s that sudden drop in blood sugar that creates those intense sugar cravings.
Deficiencies And Sugar Cravings
There’s a chance that eating unhealthy carbs is either a) leading to deficiencies or b) outbalancing a healthy intake of nutrients. Deficiencies that can lead to sugar cravings might include:
- Magnesium: Magnesium is required to convert food into energy. If you have a deficiency, it can make you feel tired due to a lack of energy which can lead to urges for sugar as a boost.
- Chromium: Chromium contributes to sugar and insulin regulation, and without enough, you can experience increased hunger. This can lead to an urge for sweeter foods we think will curb our hunger faster.
- Iron: Low iron levels can make us tired, so we crave sugar for an energy boost.
- Calcium: Although most of us know calcium is good for healthy bones and teeth, we might not realize it plays a vital role in staying hydrated. If you lack enough calcium, you can become dehydrated, causing lethargy, and need something to boost energy – namely sugar.
Again, if you experience constant sugar cravings, speak to your doctor to discuss possible causes.
Fighting Sugar Cravings Sans The Willpower
A lack of willpower is discouraging and can make it difficult to overcome your cravings. However, because there could be a medical reason for your urges, whether it is a condition, deficiency, or poor diet, willpower alone won’t be enough. Instead, you need a few strategies to fight sugar cravings based on the reason for your cravings. Here are some examples:
- Not eating proper meals? Eat a healthy snack to curb your hunger, like fruit and veggies, or enjoy a naturally sweet herbal tea like mint or vanilla.
- Just wolfed down too many carbs? Sip on one of those sweet herbal teas to overcome sugar urges.
- Craving sugar because you had a few too many? Rehydrate with water and enjoy a healthy salty snack like cheese or olives.
How To Avoid Sugar Cravings
Some quick tips to avoid and overcome sugar cravings include:
- Eat regular meals to maintain calorie intake, increase energy levels and maintain healthy blood sugar levels
- Avoid massive servings of carbs, especially salty ones
- Eat salty snacks that aren’t carby, like olives, pickles, or cheese
- Brew some herbal tea
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Improve your diet so you get enough protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates while reducing your intake of refined carbs and sugars
- Remain hydrated with water throughout the day
Healthy Foods That Satisfy Sugar Cravings
Some excellent food choices that help satisfy sugar cravings include:
- Fruit and berries are sweet and satisfying whether enjoyed on their own, in smoothies, with yogurt, etc.
- Dark chocolate with 70% or more cocoa is packed with healthful polyphenols making it excellent for cravings related to a magnesium deficiency but also for urges for something yummy and sweet
- Instead of salty snacks like chips that will make your cravings worse, reach for a bag of satisfying seeds like chia, sunflower, pumpkin, etc.
- Yogurt provides protein and calcium, but read the label to avoid those containing high amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners
- Dates are nature’s candy with a sweet taste and pleasing chewy texture, enjoyed on their own or in a wide variety of pure date and nut snacks available at your local grocery store
- Smoothies are quick and delicious and can be made with your choice of frozen fruits, milk products, and yogurts
- Prunes can be an excellent choice, with a more intense flavour than dates – just beware, as they can have a risky laxative effect
- Create homemade trail mix with dates, raisins, coconut, and an assortment of nuts
- Raw crunchy veggies with unsweetened dips like tzatziki, Baba ganouj, or hummus are great snacks to curb sugar urges
Remember, natural sugars like maple syrup or honey might be a go-to if you can’t overcome your urge, but they really aren’t helping and might even worsen matters. The same can be said of artificial sweeteners.
How To Stop Craving Sugar — The Bottom Line
If your sugar cravings seem never-ending, speak to your doctor to determine what is causing them. You can also use these tips to help improve your diet to avoid gum disease and tooth decay, as well as weight issues that can lead to diabetes.