Sugar craving is a problem for a large section of the population. Many people are addicted to sugar like chain smokers are addicted to cigarettes. What many people do not know is that sugar actually affects the centre of the brain that drugs like heroin or cocaine has an impact on, offering the feel-good-factor. So, the mind’s craving for sugar, especially when you are trying to quit eating sugar, is but natural; just as you experience withdrawal and craving when you quit drugs.
Here it must be mentioned that will power alone cannot stop your sugar cravings. You might think of cheating a little, but that little amount of sugar or sweet will only increase your craving. Your stress level and what you eat has a great impact on your sugar craving level.
So, if you are trying to cut down on your sugar consumption and feeling the sugar cravings, here is a list of foods that you need to eat, when you are craving for sweets.
Here is What to Eat when Craving Sweets
Coconut Oil to Stop Craving Sweets:
When you cut down on the sugar level, you actually compromise with a lot of tasty food that you have been accustomed to eating for long. In that case, you can try to add some flavour to your dishes by adding a little coconut oil or by replacing your usual cooking oil with coconut oil. Not only is coconut oil a healthy fat, but it also has a slightly sweet taste. Also, the medium chain triglycerides from the coconut oil will provide energy to your body. You can eat coconut chips or add coconut chips to your smoothies or oatmeal breakfast to satisfy your sugar cravings as well as to stay full for longer.
Herbal Tea for Stopping Sugar Cravings:
Those of you, who have been habituated with drinking sugary teas frequently, can replace your tea habit with herbal teas. There are a number of strong tasting herbal teas that will give you the same boost and not let you feel the absence of sugar in your drink. Try peppermint or ginger for a strong flavour. If you are in mood for something sweet smelling, you can go for jasmine tea. You can also try licorice tea as it has a naturally sweet flavour that will help you to satisfy your taste buds, when you are trying to fight with sugar cravings.
Herbal teas are very useful in fighting sugar cravings. This is because; often the cause of the sugar craving during your ‘quit sugar’ session is stress and lack of sleep. When you drink a few cups of these herbal teas, not only do they help you to fight sugar cravings, but will also help to relax you and help you to have a good sleep.
Since the goal of cutting down sugar is to stay healthy, there is no use of drawing your hands towards highly processed and high of fat, sugary foods and drinks. Instead, if you switch to some naturally sweet fruits, not only will it keep you healthy, but it will also satisfy your sugar cravings. When you are feeling something high on sugar, go for the more sweet fruits such as mangoes or grapes, rather than the light ones.
Veggie based Carbohydrates to Stop Craving Sweets:
Naturally sweet food ingredients are the best things to eat, when you are having sugar cravings. Sweet potatoes are a great snack in that regard. Roast a sweet potato and top it with some coconut oil and cinnamon to satisfy your taste bud with an evening snack. Similarly, you can also try carrots and butternut squash. When you roast them, all their natural sweetness from the carbohydrate content, gets concentrated and you get to enjoy the sweetness that you have been craving for.
Strawberry, raspberry, blueberries and all sorts of berries that you can commonly think of, naturally taste sweet. However, the amount of sugar that they contain is quite low in terms of other sweet fruits. On the other hand, they are rich in fibres and vitamins such as vitamin C. So, when you are in mood for something sweet, munching on a few berries would not only help you satisfy your cravings, but will also reduce the risks of certain diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases. Also, the polyphenols present in berries in high quantities, can inhibit the negative impacts of sugar from fruits.
Dark Chocolate for Stopping Sugar Cravings:
Dark chocolates contain 70% of cacao and less sugar than regular chocolate. Since it is chocolate, it naturally tastes sweet and choosing dark chocolate over regular chocolate will even give you the chance to satisfy your sugar cravings, without compromising with your health. In fact, the cacao, which is a natural polyphenol, actually has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that will increase your heart health.
Dates are extremely sweet and rich. A few dates are always better than a large amount of other dried nuts, because in just a small portion, your sugar craving can be taken care of. A piece of date contains only 5 grams of sugar, but contains many minerals and vitamins along with fibres. The rich fibre content will keep you full and you will crave less for sugar. Add dates to smoothies or eat it just like that as a snack. It is a great alternative to a can of soda or a processed food or even some candies.
Prunes to Stop Sugar Cravings:
Just like dates, another dry fruit, which is dried plum or commonly known as prunes, is a great and healthy alternative to sugar candies, if you are experiencing sugar cravings. They contain a high quantity of sorbitol, which is a sugar alcohol that tastes sweet, but has a very slow absorption speed in your gut. So, you can munch on a few prunes when you feel like eating something sweet.
Leafy Vegetables for Sugar Cravings:
Adding leafy vegetables to your regular diet will not only help you stay full, but has proven to curb your sugar cravings. While most people switch to eating some candies or chocolates to satisfy their sugar cravings, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens, collards and beet greens have proven to be very useful in keeping you full for longer and when you are not hungry, you will also feel less sugar cravings.
Though there are many types of snack bars that will keep you full, not all of them are good for your health, if you are trying to cut down the sugar consumption. Certainly, there are healthy snack bars that contain high fibres and natural sweeteners that are not the typical table sugars or any sort of added sugar. Choose a snack bar that contains whole foods such as oats and have fresh or dried fruits that provide the sweetness to the bars. Of course, you can make your own snack bar with all the healthy ingredients that are good for you. Add more nuts and a few types of spices to make it tastier.
Yogurt to Stop Craving Sweets:
Yogurt is a rich source of protein and research studies have shown that eating yogurt during your meal will keep you fuller and you will eat lesser in that day during your later meals. This means that you will crave less for sugar and eat less sugar if you are full.
Legumes for Sugar Cravings:
Since eating high protein is a must when you are trying to cut down on your sugar consumption, as well as when you are trying to fight your sugar cravings, eating legumes is a great help. These plant based proteins such as beans, lentils and chickpeas can give you a feeling of fullness. A single portion of legumes contain about 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fibre. This aids in fighting your hunger driven sugar craving.
Omega 3 fatty acid and other healthy fats play a very important role in fighting sugar cravings. Chia seed is full of omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients such as soluble dietary fibres. These fibres can absorb water and swell up to form a jelly-like substance. This will make you fuller and crave less for sugar.
Proteins for Sugar Cravings:
Research studies have shown, if you include a good amount of animal protein to your diet (about 1/4th of the meal should contain meat, poultry or fish), it will cut y9our sugar cravings to about 60%. Not only does it help you to fight your sugar cravings, but it will also help you to lose weight, if that is the reason behind your cutting down on sugar consumption. If you are vegetarian, include enough plant based proteins like lentils, beans and legumes and that will do the job.
Even eggs are a great source of protein. If you eat eggs in your breakfast, you will stay full for long and eat less during the rest of the day. The reason behind this is that high protein breakfasts increases the production of some hormones in your body that make you feel full, such as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY (PYY) as well as suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin. So, you end up feeling less hungry and crave less for sweets.
Sugar Free Chewing Gums to Stop Sugar Cravings:
Chewing gums are a great way to suppress your sugar cravings. Research studies have shown how peppermint or mint can reduce your desire to eat more. Chewing a mint flavoured or peppermint flavoured gum will make you feel less hungry. In fact, there are some chewing gums that taste sweet but are made up of artificial sweeteners and hence, contain less calories and no sugar at all. This is a great way to satisfy your taste bud, when you are craving for something sweet.
Of course, there are many other food ingredients and recipes that are very useful in controlling sugar cravings. You can make your own recipes as well. Add some yogurt to your drinks and make smoothies. Add cinnamon to roasted sweet veggies and make it a snack.
It is up to you how you want to eat these ingredients. However, in general, these food and drink ingredients work amazingly well to control and suppress your sugar cravings. Once you manage to break the cycle for a week or two, you will be able to cut the cravings.