We are no stranger to sweet cravings. When you give in and consume sweetened foods or beverages, you feel good and alert for a short time. Thereafter, you feel moody, irritable or lacking concentration and crave for more sugar. This vicious cycle repeats over and over again.
Sugar is a type of carb. You don’t require additional sugar if you are already eating complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Most people consume too much sugar in the form of simple carbohydrates in processed foods. Hidden sugar is found in crackers, pastries, donuts, yogurts, cereals and juices.
Health risks of excessive sugar intake
Sugar causes spikes in insulin and blood sugar levels. Too much sugar results in high insulin that encourage fat formation and inhibit fat breakdown. As the body develops insulin resistance, you are likely to suffer from diabetes and other related disorders such as obesity, stroke, cardiovascular and kidney problems.
Bacterial and yeast infections are common in people who consume excessive sugar as these microorganisms thrive on the latter. The imbalance of good and bad microorganisms give rise to digestive tract disorders, candida infection and allergies.
Sugar causes mood swings and fluctuations in energy levels. It has been known to exacerbate behavioural disorders in ADHD/ADD sufferers. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels have negative effects on brain function.
Knowing the health risks of too much sugar consumption, you must fight the battle against sugar addiction. Here are 7 easy ways to stop sugar craving for long term good health.
1. Clean out sugary foods
When you don’t keep sugary treats or processed foods at home or work place, you can’t eat them. By keeping them out of easy access, there’s nothing to entice you.
2. Fruits and healthy snacks
Have fruits or vegetables if you want to eat anything sweet. They are wholesome and packed with nutrients.
Keep healthy snacks such as nuts and seeds in hand to fulfill your sweet cravings.
3. Eat natural foods
Your choice of foods may be contributing to your sugar cravings. Avoid processed foods, refined carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners and foods containing high fructose corn syrup.
Choose unprocessed foods that provide a combination of lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbs. They keep you satisfied longer, stabilise your blood glucose and reduce sugar cravings.
4. Don’t skip meals
Skipping meals or eating too little can make you crave sugar or carbs to satisfy your hunger. In this case, craving is your body’s way of telling you that it is lacking in nutrients.
Make sure you eat at regular times to keep your blood sugar stable and stop sugar cravings.
The more you stay up late , the more you crave for sugar. Lack of sleep also leads to sugar cravings. Sleep early and get 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night.
6. Stress management
Under stressful situations, the body releases cortisol (stress hormone) that stimulates appetite and sweet cravings. The best solution is to get rid of the cause of stress. Otherwise, use stress relief techniques to help keep stress under control and stop sugar cravings.
7. Break the habit
Do you find yourself reaching for sugary treats following a meal, while watching television and when you are bored?
Break your sugar craving habit by taking a walk, drinking water, sipping green tea or working out. New healthy habits take your mind off cravings and stop the bingeing on sweets.
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