We all know that having sugar in our diet does not do our health any favors. And yet, in spite of that knowledge, many of us still love sugar - and find it hard to give it up. Sugar is obviously very addictive. Cravings are driven by your brain's need for a "reward" — not your body's need for food. If you can have only one bite and stop there, indulging a little when you get a craving is absolutely fine. But if you tend to binge and overeat as soon as you get a taste of sugary foods, then giving in to the cravings is the worst thing you can do. What can we do to fight those cravings for sugar?
Here are some tips
Drink a glass of water. It is said that dehydration can cause cravings.
Eat a piece of fruit. Having fruit may help satisfy sugar cravings for some people. In fact fruits such as dates can be used as replacement ingredient for sugar in certain recipes.
Avoid artificial sweeteners. They are not the solution as a sugar substitute.
Eat more protein. Protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and eggs are especially good for curbing hunger.
Avoid excess stress. Sugary treats are often used as a comfort food.
Avoid certain triggers - you will know what triggers affect you.
If you feel hungry, eat a healthy and filling meal. A craving is not the same as hunger but if you get a craving when you are hungry, the craving is difficult to resist. A craving combined with hunger is a powerful drive that many will find hard to overcome. Stock your kitchen with healthy snack foods.
Take a hot shower. Some find that hot showers or baths provide relief from sugar craving. The water should be hot enough that it is on the verge of feeling uncomfortable. Let the water run over your back and shoulders so that it heats you up. Stay there at least 5 to 10 minutes. By the time you step out of the shower, you are likely to have a "dazed" feeling, as if you've been sitting in a sauna for a long time, at which point your craving should have disappeared.
Go for a brisk outdoors walk or run. It works on two levels: (1) that you are distancing yourself from the food you are craving and (2) the exercise will release endorphins, or "feel good" chemicals in your brain, helping to turn off the craving. If for any reason you cannot go outdoors, do a few exhausting sets of exercises - push-ups, body weight squats or any other body-weight exercise.
It is important to understand that a craving is not the same as hunger. It's not your body calling for energy, it’s your brain calling for something that releases a lot of dopamine in the reward system. In fact, sugar does not give you energy. Instead it gives you a spike which quickly lowers, making you feel you need more again soon. Craving sugar is a true addiction.
Jane writes for Healing Natural Oils, a producer and retailer of high-quality, all-natural treatments for a variety of conditions as well as a range of beauty products. Apart from writing about those various conditions, she also covers general health, environmental and other subjects of interest. She has lived in Kenya as well as Cape Town, South Africa and spent time in San Diego, USA. She now lives in Somerset, England with regular visits from her far-flung children and grandchildren. She is a keen gardener and enjoys growing fresh fruit and vegetables with her husband on their joint allotment. As a result, there is something available to use in the kitchen virtually all year round. Her regular posts can be found on our blog.