7 ways to stop sugar cravings

How addictive is sugar?

For those who love a sugar hit, the thought of going without can seem incredibly daunting. It may sound silly to some but for those who can’t seem to quit the sugar, don’t feel bad. Because sugar is a highly addictive substance!

Eating sugar releases opioids and dopamine in our bodies; key players in the “reward circuit” associated with addictive behaviour. That’s because when you do something that causes a big release of dopamine (such as eating a doughnut filled with sugar!) you get that pleasurable high feeling. This feeling quickly goes away and you repeat the behaviour to get the same high.

Over time, your brain adjusts to release less dopamine and so the only way you can get the same feeling is by eating more sugar, more frequently. 

Did you know?

Research on rats has shown that they can become dependent on sugar and one study even found that Oreo cookies activate more neurons in the pleasure centre of the rats’ brains than cocaine does!

Consequences of too much sugar

As lovely as sugar tastes and makes us feel, too much over a long period of time can be really detrimental to our health. Too much sugar can cause a range of problems such as weight gain, tooth decay, acne, and can increase your chance of developing heart disease, depression and even type 2 diabetes.

How to beat those sugar cravings

If you’re looking to improve your health by quitting sugar here are some tips for beating those cravings

1. Up your snack game

Have healthy, low sugar snacks on hand so when you get that mid-morning or mid-afternoon craving you can satisfy it with something healthy. Failing to prepare makes it all too easy to grab that biscuit or cake!

2. Spread out your meals properly

If you go too long without eating your blood sugar drops and it causes you to feel hungry and crave something sweet. Eat regularly to avoid the painful hunger pangs!

3.Listen to your body

Take notice of the times you feel most hungry and adjust your eating habits accordingly. Whilst some people feel great eating three meals a day at traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner times, others may feel better eating six smaller meals throughout the day.

4.Add some spice to your life

Spice can be a godsend when you’re swapping out sugar. Some of the best unique flavours come from easily accessible spices that don’t contain any added sugar.

5.Eat foods you really like

Finding healthy meals and foods you love that also keep you satisfied is key to cutting out those cravings. If you’re eating foods that you don’t particularly like just because they’re healthy then you’re going to feel deprived and before you know it you’ll be bingeing on the sweets. 

6.Try to de-stress

Excess stress can be a major trigger for sugar cravings so things like exercise, yoga and meditation are invaluable when it comes to keeping stress levels low.

7.Turn to fruit

When that sweet tooth really won’t go away, instead of turning to chocolate, grab an apple or a banana. Their natural sugar content can help satisfy those cravings.

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