Hey Sugar, look at me!
You’ve tried to stop, I know.
But just looking at this sweet treat, makes you want to eat an entire slice.
I get it, I’ve been there, sugar does a lot of things in our brains that we don’t really realize.
For starters, sugar fuels our brain cells through glucose. That comes from the food that we eat and is regularly delivered to brain cells (called neurons) through the blood.
Next, it is not called “treats” for nothing. Our brain also sees sugar as a prize or a reward, making it irresistible. Thus, turning it into a bad habit because the more sugar consumed, the more the reward is being enforced.
Why do we crave sugar?
As Anna Taylor MS, RD, LD. explains
“The human body functions a bit like a car – you put fuel in the tank, and then you drive. If the body doesn’t get the fuel it needs, then strong physical cravings can manifest,”
Thus, ask yourself these questions, and let’s see where your cravings are coming from:
- Are you starving yourself? If you think that a cup of coffee and a salad will get you through the day, then think again. Your body needs sustainable fuel to work and function properly.
- Do you understand how sugar can be addictive?
“Our brains are wired to enjoy things which make us happy,” says Jennifer Willoughby, RD, CSP, LD
Thus, being aware of the recommended daily sugar consumption can really go a long way. Also, do you read the labels and understand what it means? Maybe it’s time to revisit the details on the labels and spot those hidden sugars.
- Is your body telling you something? When was the last time you listened to your body? Before you indulge in that tub of ice cream, ask yourself first, do I really need this or am I just tired?
Now let’s look at how to go about your sugar cravings, shall we?
- Start smart. Have a filling and solid breakfast. Less sugar in the morning means your day will be more balanced and most likely reduce cravings. A sure-fire proven way to reduce craving is having a high protein breakfast.
- Meal planning. This is something I’ve been mentioning day in and out to my clients. Planning your meal in advance, offers tons of benefits such as being easy, budget-friendly, and prevents blood sugar dips.
- “Bebe tu agua” a Spanish translation of “drink your water”. My sweet and unique way to remind my clients to hydrate. Otherwise, dehydration can make you feel hungry and crave more. An amazing tip is to add lemon, berries, and other fruits for daily water variation and flavor.
- 10-minute rule. Yes, there is such a rule. When the sweet cravings kick in wait for 10 minutes and go an environment change. Either you start a different task or take a walk, this is to distract your sweet cravings.
- Substitute your sweets. Did you know that vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash, and carrots are excellent alternatives to satisfy your sugar cravings? Other natural sweet options include are coconuts, bananas, dates, vanilla, and cinnamon.
In totality, yes, sugar makes you feel happy, lowers your inhibitions, and makes you feel good (temporarily). However, too much sugar consumption may lead to tooth decay, skin breakouts, weight gain, high blood sugar, and cardiovascular diseases.
Let go of the sugar craze through baby steps.By making small changes to your diet makes it easier to keep them up. Cut out a little bit of sugar each week. After a few weeks, you’ll be surprised at how little you miss it.