Do you find that chocolate bar calling your name at all hours of the day? Do you feel like you have trouble losing weight because you crave sugar all the time?
Eating sugary foods releases chemicals in our brain that make us feel good and of course, sugar taste good. This often leads us to reaching for that sweet treat. An occasional sweet treat is part of a healthy diet, but when you crave sweets it is difficult to limit the amount.
If you find yourself craving sweets, consider these 6 factors that may be contributing to your cravings.
1. Do you have scheduled meals and snacks?
Skipping meals or going too long between meals can make the cravings more intense and you’ll be more likely to grab that sweet treat. Eat meals around the same time each day and if your meals are longer than 4-5 hours apart, schedule a snack.
2. Are you eating a lot of processed foods?
A diet high in processed foods can contribute to cravings. Eating more “whole” foods will help you get more fiber and other important nutrients that can help decrease sugar cravings. Focus on eating more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.
For some people, it does help to quit sugar “cold turkey” for a few days and then slowly add sugar back in. This also includes artificial sweeteners as they can also contribute to the sugar cravings.
Also, eat protein and carbohydrate foods together. For example, a great snack could be an apple with peanut butter or tuna salad on whole wheat bread. This helps with hormone balance and blood sugar control. Keeping your blood sugars stable can help with cravings.
This leads me to the next point.
3. Have you had your blood sugars checked recently?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are 7.3 million people with undiagnosed diabetes.
Check your blood sugars and make sure you don’t have uncontrolled diabetes. If your blood sugars are running too high or too low, you might crave sugar.
4. Are you getting enough sleep and managing stress?
Sometimes sugar cravings are not from what you are eating. Instead, it can be because you’re not getting enough sleep or you are constantly stressed out.
If your body is fatigued from lack of sleep or stress, this affects hormones that affect hunger and cravings. Work on getting enough sleep and find healthy ways to manage stress.
5. What are you drinking throughout the day?
Make sure you are drinking enough water. Staying hydrated with the right kind of beverages can help with cravings.
Do not drink sugary beverages or those flavored with artificial sweeteners. These drinks contribute to the feel good chemicals in the brain and can bring on the cravings.
6. Are you on a restrictive diet?
Make sure you are giving your body the nutrients it needs to run properly.
When some people start dieting, the cravings become intense because they are deficient in certain nutrients. This can bring on the cravings.
Working with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can help you find a balance that can reduce the sugar and ensure you are getting in correct amounts of nutrients.
Need an individualized plan to help with those sugar cravings and help you lose weight, check out my program.
Want to join an online community that can give you support on your weight loss journey? Join my Facebook group, “Weight Loss Support with DF”. I share recipes, meal ideas and host “5 Day Challenges” to help keep you motivated and on track.