People often express concerns about sugar cravings and how to eliminate them to achieve healthier eating habits. Diets high in sugar have been shown to contribute to chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and more. To make the healthiest diet choices, we need to find and identify the root cause for these cravings. Sugar cravings can be well controlled and you occasionally can find a balance in sugary indulgences.
How to combat sugar cravings
1. Eat regular meals and snacks
Often, when people skip meals or snacks, our bodies are signaling hunger. Physiologically, if your body is looking for fuel from food, the easiest way to achieve that is through glucose or sugar. When blood sugars drop drastically from long stretches with little to no food intake, our bodies may crave sugar to combat this feeling. Maintain consistent meal and snack times to keep your body well fueled and to prevent drastic drops in blood sugar. Stretches of four or more hours with no food intake may start to cause blood sugar drops, so be prepared with meals and snacks to avoid this.
2. Maintain balanced meals, focusing on all food groups.
People often highly limit carbohydrate foods in their diet in order to achieve weight loss. It is a diet myth that all carbohydrates should be eliminated in order to achieve weight loss. Carbohydrates are a major source of fuel for our bodies and brains. If your diet is very low in carbohydrates, you may start to crave sugary foods. Make sure to balance your plate with carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats and vegetables to achieve a well-rounded diet, providing all the energy you need. Carbs can have a place in every meal, with high-fiber carb foods such as beans, whole grains and fruits to help provide additional satiety.
3. Some sugar intake is ok!
Often, people following highly restrictive diets that don’t allow for sweet indulgences can cause additional sugar cravings. Eating and diet habits can be psychological, too. If we don’t allow for occasional sugar-containing items, we tend to crave them more. Finding a healthy balance and allowing for occasional sugary treats in moderation is key. Healthy dietary practices should not feel like deprivation. Finding healthier alternatives that still satisfy a sweet tooth can be useful for frequent sugar cravings.
The reality of drinking alcohol and its impact on your health affects everyone differently. If you or someone you know would like expert guidance on reducing alcohol intake, contact one of our dietitians to help improve your health and wellness goals. Never fear – we’re not the food police! We understand that alcohol may show up on occasion, and utilizing our customizable meal plan option could provide a better understanding of how to include an occasional drink or two in your lifestyle without taking you off the beaten path.
The takeaway message with sugar cravings is that they are normal and can be well managed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Take a closer look at your overall diet to ensure that it’s well rounded and balanced. Occasional sugar intake is acceptable because it helps build habits of control and moderation and prevents feelings of deprivation.