We like sugar and it is not our fault. But for some people it is hard to control the amount they consume. What usually happens is a person craves sugar so s/he eats something high in it such as a candy bar.
The sugar releases endorphins in our brain and we feel great and happy – called the sugar rush. As our body quickly releases insulin to consume the simple carbohydrates, it usually releases too much too fast, so we start experiencing the sugar crash.
We want that “feel good” feeling again so we eat more sugar. The insulin level goes up and the cycle repeats itself over and over and …. The problem from this continued up-and-down cycle is you will eventually experience insulin resistance where your body keeps requiring more insulin to deal with the sugar. Eventually you’ll reach the point where your body can’t produce enough insulin and you’ll have Type 2 diabetes. With sugar having four calories per grams per teaspoon it adds up, especially when we consume on average 18 to 22 teaspoons of it per day.
According to the American Heart Association, women are supposed to limit themselves to six tablespoons of added sugar per day; nine for men. As noted above, we are consuming two to more than three times that amount. The problem even if we try to watch our sugar content, is it unknowingly occurs in much of the food we eat as an added sugar, so don’t know it is in there unless you are read nutrition labels.
But there are ways to control the sugar tiger in most of us. These five ways can reduce your sugar cravings:
– Don’t deny yourself sugar. Your cravings will eventually win. Instead if you feel the need for some sugar, limit yourself to a small fun-size candy bar instead of a big one. Try to keep this snack to 150 calories or less.
– Chew a piece of gum. Research has shown that many times chewing gum will quell the desire for sugar.
– Eat a piece of fruit. The natural sugar will satisfy your craving for sugar, but you will also get the benefit of some fiber and nutrients – both of which are good for you.
– Eat more often. Yes you read that right. By eating five or six small meals throughout the day, your craving for sugar will diminish. Some of what you eat will have added sugar so it will satisfy your sweet tooth. Just make sure your total caloric intake stays within your goal for the day by making smart healthy choices each time you eat.
– Last but not least, quit cold turkey. This is tough to do, but since sugar is an addiction, it can work just as it does well as it does for other types of addictions. The first 48 to 72 hours will be the toughest. Once you get past that, it gets easier and eventually your craving for sugar will be almost gone. You will have to constantly monitor yourself though because just like with other addictions, it is easy to “fall off the wagon”.