Not everyone has a sweet tooth but it seems like a majority do. And those with that inclination will know all about what it’s like when the sweet stuff calls!

Battling the sugar cravings

A sweet craving is a consuming and regular occurence for many and when it strikes most of us react in the way our body is demanding. But can we really do anything about this? What is it all about? Don’t worry – there is a reason and where there is a reason there is a response!

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When you eat sugar, it stimulates the release of dopamine in your brain, and this process makes you feel pleasure. The brain recognizes and likes this feeling and begins to crave more. And there is the cycle.

Well, here are tips you can use next time you are feeling the craving coming on. This should help you recognise it, understand it and react so you can stop sugar cravings before they get started and take hold.

Eat meals often

It turns out those cravings for sugar are actually your body’s way of crying out for nutrients. It needs energy and sugar is just the fastest way of providing it – even though it will make you fat afterwards!

So by eating small meals throughout the day, you will keep your body constantly nourished so that it never feels neglected and you will find that those sugar cravings become less and less.

Include more protein at every meal

Protein takes longer to digest, so it can keep you feeling full for longer periods, making you less likely to binge on sugary foods.

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Avoid artificial sweeteners

Like so many things that are designed to make you think you are making a sensible substitution and opting for a better alternative – all is not what it seems. In addition to all the serious health problems they have been linked to, artificial sweeteners (like in “diet” soft drinks) have been shown to cause your body to actually crave sweets and compound the very problem you are trying to solve. The irony!

Brush your teeth

I know it seems weird, but this is one of the best tricks you can do when you feel a sugar craving coming on. When you get that clean feeling in your mouth that comes from freshly brushed teeth, you are less likely to want to spoil that fresh feeling by pouring sugary foods in there.

Add Fruit to Your Meals

By adding naturally sweet food to your meals, like healthy whole and dried fruit, you can trick your taste buds into thinking they are getting sweets – shutting down cravings before you reach for dessert and creating a far better habit.

Drink a big glass of water

When you are dehydrated it is easy for your body to get the signals of hunger and thirst confused, since they are so similar. So next time your body seems to be shouting for fizzy drinks, chocolate bars or pieces of cake, instead digging through the candy cabinet or opening the cake tins, try downing a nice big glass of water instead and see if the cravings fade.

* Please consult a registered dietitian for a meal plan that suits your specific needs.

 

Read more from Expert Marcelo Vazquez.

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