Did you know when you eat sugar, your brain creates huge amounts of dopamine in a similar way that certain drugs, like cocaine and heroin, do? It's no wonder sugar cravings are often compared to addiction!
Even though our bodies cannot live without glucose, added and processed sugars only wreak havoc on our brains and bodies over time; When blood glucose rises, your body releases extra insulin in response but as time goes on, your cells become less responsive to the hormones and in turn, you end up with what's called "insulin resistance."
Insulin resistance sets the stage for all sorts of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and can even affect your mental well-being and eventually lead to anxiety or depression.
So if you're someone who is trying to beat your cravings, you are not alone! Here are 5 ways I beat my sugar cravings:
1. Limit access - The first and most obvious step is to limit your access to sugar in your home! Out of sight is out of mind. One of the best things for me to reduce my sugar intake was to limit the availability of eating it! Don't forget that some foods you may think does not have sugar, actually does, such as bread. Studies have shown that those who follow a low-carb diet find that their sugar cravings eventually go away over time. The conditioning of not having it readily available lessens the desire of these foods!
2. Substitution/reconditioning - Having a sweet snack is usually associated with a certain time of day for everyone. When you find yourself craving a sweet snack, substitute it for something highly nourishing such as a high protein/low carb snack or do something completely off track to distract yourself like taking a walk. Reconditioning your brain is the key here so your brain no longer links those times of day with that sweet treat.
3.Be mindful - This is a really good step for those who get cravings that are emotion or stressed-induced. If that craving hits hard based on your feelings, it's best not to resist it but to allow that feeling to move through you. Not only does meditation help with your cravings but it will also help your brain and body slow down when it comes to its stress response. Regular practice will help your brains structure and activate to help regulate the nervous system. So next time you feel that craving hit when you get stressed, pause, recognize the feeling that is underlying and choose another option for comfort, such as an herbal tea!
4. Eat a balanced diet - Eating a diet rich in nutrients, fiber, protein, and healthy fats help you stay satiated and keep your blood sugar level stable and in turn will reduce those sugar cravings. Research has shown eating healthy fats along side healthy carbs decreases glucose after eating!
5. Time is your best friend - It will only take a few weeks to see your cravings dissipate, though it will vary on the individual, 4 weeks seems to be the average time it takes. Even if you do not follow a strict low carb diet and just cut out that extra sugary processed foods you WILL see a difference!
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