Giving up sugar completely is not easy. Sugar is addictive and you will experience ‘withdrawal symptom’ just as someone addicted to cocaine or heroin would do, when give up on them. This withdrawal symptom is nothing but craving for sugar. Sugar is a carbohydrate that affects that area of the brain, where common drugs affect in order to make you feel good. It helps in the release of the feel-good chemical serotonin. So, sugar makes you feel like eating more sugar.
This sugar craving may prevent you from continuing to avoid sugar completely. So, you must make sure that you do not fall prey to this craving. However, if you plan carefully, there are many natural and useful ways to stop sugar cravings.
How to Stop Sugar Cravings Naturally?
Here are a few ways in which you can stop sugar cravings naturally.
Eat Complex Carbohydrates:
Simple carbohydrates like sugar can easily boost your energy level and satisfy your hunger quickly. However, if it is not backed up by some proteins or fats, this is not going to last you for long. You will soon feel hungry and end up eating more than you should. So, if you eat more complex carbohydrates, it will take a longer time to digest and therefore, you will feel fuller for long, feel less hungry and not end up eating more. If you do not feel hungry, you will also not crave for sugar as much. So, this is a very intelligent and effective way to avoid eating sugar or stop sugar cravings naturally.
Replace your regular white rice with brown rice. Eat quinoa and oats instead of pasta or regular white bread. These complex carbohydrates are full of fibre content. This will help you in feeling fuller and you will be less hungry.
Do Not Skip Meals in order to Stop Sugar Cravings Naturally:
In order to stay full and to avoid feeling hungry, you must not skip any meal. Skipping meals will lower your blood sugar level and you will crave for more sugar. Also, in order to match up for the missed calories, the body will crave for more sugar.
You should depend more on multiple smaller meals, rather than eating a few heavy meals to stop sugar cravings naturally. The more your blood sugar level is stable, the less you will experience the sugar cravings. When you eat frequently, the carbohydrate, fat and protein from your food will help to stabilize the blood sugar level and prevent further cravings.
Eat Fruits Instead of Sugary Foods:
You will feel the craving for a cookie, a piece of cake or a bottle of soda strongly in the initial few days of cutting down on sugar. However, if you switch to eating an apple, a mango or some grapes instead of those processed, highly sugary foods and drinks, it is most likely that within a few minutes you will feel that the sugar craving has gone away naturally.
Protein Packed Breakfast:
There is no better way to start a day than to have a protein packed breakfast. Research studies have shown that if you eat some proteins in the morning, you will have less sugar cravings in the rest of the day. Low fat cheese, Greek yoghurt, sunny side up or poached eggs and peanut butter are great as breakfast proteins. All these proteins, when had in the morning, will produce less ghrelin, which is a hunger stimulating hormone and more of those chemicals called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY (PYY) that make you feel full.
Sleep More to Crave Less for Sugar:
Ghrelin, the hunger inducing hormone and leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full, have a very complex relationship with insulin. The way you sleep, has a direct impact on the levels of these hormone. Research studies from the University of Chicago have shown that when you sleep less, your ghrelin levels are increased by 30%, while your leptin levels are dropped by 18%. As a consequence, the sugar craving of those subjects was increased to 45%. When you have less sleep, not only do the sugary foods seem to be more appealing to you, but it also reduces your ability to control your cravings. So, getting the required amount of sleep is important to stop sugar cravings naturally.
Divert on Other Flavours to Stop Sugar Cravings Naturally:
Sweet flavours and fragrances may seem to be very appetizing. However, there are other flavours and spices as well that you can add to your dishes and you will feel less drawn towards the sweet flavours and be satisfied with the other flavours. Add spices and aromatics like star anise, cinnamons etc. to the food that you prepare. Add some lemon zest or balsamic vinegar or even some extra virgin olive oil to your salad and you will be amazed to find the burst of flavours that these ingredients add to the dish. You will simply forget about the sugary foods.
Drink Plenty of Water for Stopping Sugar Cravings Naturally:
Sometimes, you feel the sugar cravings more when you are thirsty. So, make sure that you drink at least 64 ounces of water every day. This will reduce your sugar cravings naturally.
Do Not Add Artificial Sweeteners:
Adding artificial sweeteners will only increase your dependency on sweet foods and drinks. These artificial sweeteners are sweeter than sugar. So, if you really need to add something sweet to what you are eating or drinking, go for the natural sweeteners that have a low glycaemic index as compared to sugar, such as molasses, raw honey, barley malt, agave nectar, sucanat etc.
All these natural but highly effective methods will certainly help you to stop your sugar cravings. Of course, your sugar cravings are going to last only for about 10 days to a fortnight under general circumstances. If you follow these methods and have a strong will power to break the cycle of sugar craving, you will be able to quit sugar in the end. You can also try to walk away from sugar and do some exercises in order to change your mind at times. You can talk to a friend about something absolutely different than foods and sweets and that might also help you.