If you struggle with cravings for sugar, you're not alone. Countless people experience powerful urges to eat sweet treats, and there’s nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence (barring any pre-existing health conditions you may have, like diabetes).
Unfortunately, however, excess sugar consumption has led to widespread obesity and health issues for many people. With this in mind, here are five smart strategies you can use to manage sugar cravings.
Poor sleep can negatively impact our lives in many ways. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to feel tired and run down. Plus, inadequate sleep has been linked to many health problems, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
Sleep impacts sugar cravings, too. Research has linked poor sleep to anxiety, depression, and excessive sugar cravings. If you want to beat your insatiable urge to eat more sugar, start by getting more sleep.
You can reduce your desire for unhealthy sugar by eating a healthy meal. Fill your plate with lean protein, crunchy vegetables, and whole grains, which contain slow-digesting fiber that will keep you satisfied longer.
Avoid foods that are full of simple carbohydrates, which digest quickly and make it far more likely that your cravings will return.
Many sodas, sports drinks, juices, teas, and other beverages are filled with sugar — just look at the label to see the quantity, which may surprise you. Unfortunately, drinking too many sweet beverages can lead to all sorts of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.
If you have a weakness for sugar-filled beverages, consider swapping them out for these refreshing sugar-free drinks that will satisfy your sweet tooth without all the added sugar.
It's quite common for cravings to stem from anxiety, boredom, or another emotion. When you feel the urge to eat something sweet, find an engaging activity that will take your mind off food, like reading a book, talking to a friend, or getting outside.
If your sugar cravings are strong during evenings, try brushing your teeth to distract your brain. As a bonus, you probably won’t want to eat that cookie once your mouth is minty fresh.
Sometimes, giving in to our cravings becomes a habit. We might indulge in ice cream, cookies, or candy without consciously thinking about the decision.
You can reshape these habits by making some smart changes. For example, if you habitually snack on sugar-filled snacks, make a healthier swap. Fruit is a healthy way to satisfy sugar cravings, and you can get creative with how you prepare it. Over time, you’ll create a new habit and will crave the natural sweetness of fiber-filled fruits instead of processed sugar.