Do You Need Help Controlling Your Sugar Cravings?

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Sugar is addictive, and contributes to numerous diseases such as cancer, diabetes and obesity. Dealing with sugar cravings or sugar addiction can be extremely difficult. Sugar cravings are frequently caused by the brains need for reward, not the body’s need for food.

The sad truth for those of us with a sweet tooth is that sugar is toxic. It does nothing but wreak havoc with our body. It’s bad for your skin, creates inflammation, causes you to gain weight, and stresses your body. Nancy Appleton, author of Lick the Sugar Habit wrote an article entitled 143 Ways Sugar Ruins Your Health. Each statement she makes is backed by a science or medical study. You can read the article here.

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Sugar in unexpected places

Avoiding sugar can be a serious challenge, especially if you eat any processed or prepared foods. You may expect sugar in ice cream or desserts, but it’s in many unexpected places such as vinaigrette’s, spaghetti sauce, yogurt, crackers, breads, Nutella, and more.

Yogurts are frequently high in sugar; Tart Cherry Noosa yogurt (31 grams), Chobani Greek Raspberry (16 grams), Yoplait Whip Key Lime Pie (21 grams). That’s a very high sugar food.

Store bought breads such as: Udi’s Gluten-Free Whole Grain (3 grams in 2 slices), Rudi’s Gluten-Free (4 grams in 2 slices), Thomas Whole Wheat Bagels (7 grams), King’s Hawaiian Honey Wheat Roll (6 grams in one LITTLE roll), Franz Kaiser Buns (6 grams), Franz Nine Grain Bread (8 grams in 2 slices) Orowheat/Arnold 100% Whole Wheat Bread (6 grams in 2 slices).

Store bought oatmeal cups-(You know the ones, just add hot water, cover and eat). Nature Valley Protein Mixed Berry Oatmeal (18 grams), Quaker Real Medleys Apple Walnut Oatmeal (22 grams), Quaker Apples & Cinnamon (12 grams). The amount of sugar in Quaker Real Medleys Apple Walnut Oatmeal exceeds what most experts say anyone should be eating in an entire day – and this is just one meal.

I’m thinking you get the idea….read the label and know what you are really eating.

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Grams versus teaspoons

Nutrition fact labels provide information that help us make healthier choices. But when it comes to determining the amount of sugar in the foods we eat, converting the number of grams to the number of teaspoons can be confusing.

Product labeling can be a confusing thing, especially if you are in the U.S. and don’t understand gram measurements. Since most of us know what a teaspoon looks like, it would be easier to determine the amount of sugar we are consuming if nutrition labels listed the amount of sugar per serving in common household measures.

Grams sound like a small measurement don’t they? If something has 16 grams of sugar, how much is it that really?

4.2 grams equals a teaspoon, but the nutrition facts rounds this number down to four grams.

16 grams of sugar = 4 teaspoons of sugar

20 ounce can of soda with 70 grams of sugar = 17.5 teaspoons of sugar or more than 1/3 cup sugar per 20 ounce can.

Have you ever wondered if they use gram measurements because it’s less intimidating than teaspoons? If someone knew that the soda they were drinking had over a third of a cup of sugar in it, would they really drink it?

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10 tips for reducing sugar cravings

The first and most difficult option is to remove all the junk food from your house till your willpower improves. Understand your sugar cravings. Are you really craving something sweet or are you just plain hungry?  You may consider some of these options the next time a sugar craving strikes.

Avoid artificial sweeteners– This triggers cravings for a lot of people and can actually promote weight gain.

ExerciseWhether it’s a walk, run, or time on the elliptical, exercise will help reduce the craving. Eating sugar releases endorphins and makes your brain feel happy. Exercise will do the same thing.

Eat protein-If you get a craving and you are actually hungry, eat a protein rich healthy meal to curb your appetite.

Healthy snack options-Opt for healthier snack rather than sugary treats. Consider an apple with nut butter, celery with nut butter and raisins, or a fresh fruit salad.

Gymnema is a traditional Ayurvedic herb that can help to minimize sugar craving. Gymnema sylvestre, means “sugar destroyer” in Hindi. You can sprinkle gymnema powder on your tongue to reduce sugar cravings or take it as a supplement.  In addition, Gymnema sylvestre can help to control blood sugar levels for diabetics.

Avoid extreme hunger-The biggest reason for cravings is hunger. Be sure to eat regular meals at consistent times and have healthy snacks if needed.

Get a good night of sleep-This study links the connection between poor sleep habits and a significant increase in the desire for weight-gain promoting high-calorie foods.

B Vitamins-Chromium picolinate taken daily can help control sugar withdrawal. In addition vitamin C and zinc will help to boost serotonin levels which can help with your mood, since many of us get grouchy when cutting back on sugar.

Argentum nitricum-This homeopathic remedy is a great option for individuals with strong sugar cravings and lack of impulse control. Other homeopathic remedies that are beneficial include cina, lycopodium and sulphur.

Green Smoothie-Smoothies are delicious, easy to digest and taste great. Opt for a healthier green smoothie with minimal fruit. Once you replace the empty sugary calories with the nutrient-packed ones, you begin to crave greens, your taste for the sugary stuff will start to fade away naturally. You might try one of these recipes:

Green Almond Superfood Smoothie

Protein Rich Green Coconut Smoothie

Chocolate & Blackberry, Almond Hemp Protein Frosty

Spiced Butternut Squash Smoothie

Spiced Butternut Squash Smoothie

In conclusion

Cravings are common. More than 50% of people experience cravings.

Uncontrolled cravings can lead to weight gain, binging and food or sugar addiction.

Know your cravings are they stress related or hunger based?

Understand sugar labels 4 grams equals one teaspoon of sugar.

Try to minimize your sugar cravings through dietary changes, exercise, proper sleep and vitamins.

Written By

My Health Maven offers information on a wholistic approach to healthy lifestyle choices.