If you are on a calorie-restricted diet or planning to quit sugar intake then at times, sugar cravings might be challenging to tackle. The science behind sugar cravings is the intake of carbohydrates stimulates the release of serotonin hormone, which makes us feel good. Sweet taste also promotes the release of endorphins which relaxes our mind and elevates our mood. This rewarding feeling in our brain makes us addicted and crave more sweet foods.
There can be several reasons for sweet cravings like emotional disturbances, disturbed sleep cycle, imbalanced diet, nutrient deficiencies and fewer calories intake.
In this article, we will discuss some of the quick tips which might help overcome the urge for sweets.
1. Consume water in case you crave sweets. Drinking water helps get rid of unwanted and untimely sweet cravings.
2. Consume a protein-rich diet. Protein takes more time to digest as compared to carbohydrates and fats. Therefore, consuming a protein-rich diet provides fullness and satiety for a longer duration. This in turn helps reduce untimely cravings. Studies have also indicated that a high protein intake was able to reduce cravings by approx. 60% among obese people.
3. Meal skipping is another reason for increased sweet cravings. Skipping meals disturbs the balance of appetite and hunger hormones - leptin and ghrelin. This in turn results in increased cravings for foods rich in fats and sugar.
4. Practising crash or fad diets also slows down our metabolism and leads to micronutrient deficiencies. Fad diets are unable to meet our minimum daily calorie intake. Depriving the body of calories and other nutrients results in an increased urge for junk and sweet foods.
5. If you have an irregular or disrupted sleep pattern then this might be a reason for sweet cravings. Proper sleep is necessary to relax our mind and minimise the levels of the stress hormone — cortisol in our body. Lack of adequate sleep induces food craving and adversely affects our eating patterns.
6. Avoid keeping sweet foods at home and do not purchase them while you shop. It becomes difficult to resist when the triggering food is around.
7. Read the nutritional and ingredient label carefully. Before purchasing any processed or packaged food, always check for added sugar or sucrose content in the nutrition label. This will help in preventing unnecessary sugar intake and keep a check on daily intake.
8. Opt for healthy options to satisfy the food cravings like fruits, nuts, trail mix, homemade shakes, yoghurt fruit smoothies, dates, dark chocolate, homemade granola bars, etc.
9. Make sure that you are not deficient in any micronutrient especially magnesium, vitamin D and calcium.
10. Avoid getting dependent on artificial sweeteners. Long term use of artificial sweeteners might increase the risk of insulin resistance.
11. In order to meet daily carbohydrate intake, choose complex carbs like whole-grain cereals, bran, quinoa, oatmeal, daila, jowar, bajra, etc. over simple carbs. Due to the presence of dietary fibre, complex carbohydrates keep us satiated and prevent hunger cravings.
To sum up, the consumption of sweets might make us feel as happy as a clam but it might prove harmful in the long run. Excess consumption of sugar is associated with diseases like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. Therefore, it is important to keep a check on your sugar intake and hope these tips might help you with the same.