Our top 8 tips to stop sugar addiction
A craving for sugar is part of the human condition. When energy levels fall, or when we are simply feeling low, sugar, in the form of chocolate or cake, gives the body a welcome boost and makes the world look just a little brighter.
We all know, in our heart of hearts, that sugar is not good for us, particularly if our aim is to lose weight and increase fitness.
For the benefit of those who have chosen to believe the following statements, they are NOT true: they are merely comforting myths that we use to justify our indulgences.
Widely proclaimed, but (unfortunately) untrue myths:
If I crave chocolate, my blood sugar must be low, therefore I must eat chocolate in order to regulate my blood sugar.
Chocolate in all its lovely variations is a soul food and all its calories go straight to the soul, not to the stomach.
When biscuits are broken, the calories fall straight out and they will not therefore put on weight.
The truth about sugar
Sugar is more addictive than morphine, heroin and cocaine! (several studies have proven this to be true.)
Sugar causes surges in blood sugar, which increases the production of insulin, which itself increases the risk of diabetes.
How to resist the sugar cravings
TIP #1 – Instead of heading for the cake shop or chocolate vending machine, consider a more healthy option. For most people, more protein and less carbohydrate would be a dietary improvement, so keep a small packet of nuts, which are high in protein as an alternative to the chocolate bar or muffin. If nuts don’t appeal, then dried fruits or berries are a healthy option.
TIP #2 – Plan small but more frequent meals, thus avoiding those periods of hunger which prove such a temptation for snacking.
TIP #3 – Where sugar cravings are particularly strong, consider taking a chromium supplement (no more than 600-1000 mcg each day divided between several meals). This has been claimed to reduce sugar cravings, though since it may have the effect of reducing blood sugar there could be health implications for insulin-dependent diabetics.
TIP #4 – Don’t switch from regular to diet drinks that contain high levels of artificial sweeteners: these will increase the body’s cravings for sugar, boost the production of insulin, which in turn will increase the levels of fat stored by the body.
TIP #5 – Try to resist the temptation to use artificial sweeteners in tea and coffee for the same reason: you need to re-educate the body to crave less sugar, and using artificial sweeteners, which are significantly sweeter than sugar, will simply amplify the cravings.
TIP #6 – Try exercising as an alternative to snacking on something sweet. Exercise produces endorphins which mirror the feel-good effects of chocolate, but whilst exercise enhances health and reduces weight, chocolate does neither!
TIP #7 – Where cravings are related to stress, a Vitamin B supplement may help. Vitamin B aids the adrenal gland in responding to stress, and if stress is reduced, the sugar cravings may decline.
TIP #8 – It’s not easy to change the eating habits of a lifetime, but it is true that the less sugary foods you eat, the less the body will crave sugar, and before too long, those sugar cravings may become a feature of your less healthy past.