I hear it all the time, "I think I'm addicted to sugar." My clients are always telling me how they just feel like they need to get that little bit of sweetness (and I often feel that myself too). When I hear this, I tell them they are RIGHT. Sugar can be very addicting!
There is evidence to show that sugar and sweetness can trigger the reward and craving part of our brains just like other addictive drugs, in fact it can be even more rewarding then drugs (Ahmed et al., 2013). In addition, sugar releases serotonin from the brain which is a feel good chemical. That is why we feel good and sometimes relaxed after eating something sweet. This explains why many people find it difficult to control their sugar cravings and it doesn't help that sugar is EVERYWHERE!
Sugar is addicting but here are a few tips that might help you control your cravings!
1. Don't instantly satisfy the craving (delay and distract trick)
If you are really craving something sweet tell yourself you can have it, but you need to wait 20 minutes. During that 20 minutes engage in something non-food related. This will help distract you from the craving but also delay that feeling of instant satisfaction when you eat something sweet!
2. Indulge in some natural sugar instead
Some sugars are better for us than others (those being natural sugars). You can find natural sugars in both fruit and dairy products. So next time you're craving something sweet, why not enjoy a handful of frozen grapes or a few pieces of frozen mango. Or you can make yourself a smoothie (see recipe below).
3. Eat regularly throughout the day
Our body craves sugar when we are tired, really hungry, and ultimately just looking for energy. If you snack or eat regular meals throughout the day you will avoid having sugar lows and in turn reduce the amount of sugar you crave.
4. Avoid artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are intensely sweet and can actually increase your cravings for sugar. Recent research is finding that the use of artificial sweeteners is actually linked to obesity, and other health conditions. If you want to learn more about this, please click here and read this short article by MNT (Medical News Today, Since 2003).
5. Pick days to treat yourself
Pick 2-3 days a week that you are allowed to treat yourself to something you really enjoy. Keeping in mind that treating yourself doesn't mean over indulging or going for second, third, or fourth servings. Eating is suppose to be enjoyable so it's ok to enjoy foods you love, but moderation is key.
6. See a healthcare professional like myself
See a healthcare professional and get the support you need to make changes. Healthcare professionals like myself can provide many more tips, tricks, and strategies to help you feel great from the inside out. "Support is key in making changes and I love supporting my clients in leading healthier lifestyles that work for them. "
Deliciously sweet strawberry smoothie:
1 cup, plain kefir
1/2 ripe banana
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground flaxseed
Blend together and enjoy!
If you want to learn more about sugar (one of my favourite topics), click here to watch my episode from Rogers TV - In the Know.
Until next time,
Eat Right Feel Right - Angela XO