Need to eat sugar is triggered by our body. This is body’s naturally tendency to tell you that blood sugar levels are dropping and need to be replenished. Over a period of time this physiological reaction becomes psychological and we start to mistake this desire as need. This is when most of the trouble begins that traditionally transforms into weight gain and then eventually lifestyle diseases like high blood sugar & diabetes type 2. Sugar cravings can be controlled and managed with some effort.
Sugar is a carbohydrate and quickly breaks down in our body providing energy and releases happy hormone serotonin which makes us feel good and reduces stress and anxiety. The sweet taste of sugar is liked by most people from birth and indulge in eating them for sugar cravings. Sugar is also known to release endorphins also known as “happy hormones” that is the reason why we also crave them when we are sad or generally stressed.
How do we control this urge? First we should start with understanding what is your daily sugar intake and what are the main sources of it. Let us explain this through an example of the common sugar foods consumed by us on a daily basis like a cup of tea/coffee, sweetened cereals like cornflakes, musselli aerated drinks or sweetened drinks like packaged juices & lemonade along with one or two desserts/chocolates through the day.
Here is a quick list of a calories per serving:
Sugar coated cereals- 127 kcal (3/4 cup)
Tea spn of sugar- 20 kcal
100 ml aerated drink/soda- 37 kcal
1 chocolate- (plain Bar , 49 g of chocolate) 250 Kcal
Packaged juice-110 kcal (250 ml)
Energy drinks-152 Kcal (350 ml/one can)
All this roughly mounts upto 700 calories if you have one of each of these things listed. Incase you are looking to lose weight than you just require 2 tea spoons of sugar in a day. Besides processed sugar doesnt have any health benefits . Read here to know how it affects our health.
Below are some tips on how to control sugar cravings for weight loss, better health and reduce the calorie intake.
Eat less and control portions: Sometimes low serotonin levels raise the cravings. At points like this when you can’t do withour sugar then eat less of sugar. If you are eating a pudding then eat a few bites or share it with someone to reduce the sugar intake. Gradually managing portions would reduce cravings and be regular at cutting down intake. Waste it if you have to but eat just for little taste.
Choose Foods that are sweet: Sugar is a simple carb that breaks down in the body to produce carbs. These sugary carbs can be replaced by other carbs like potatoes, sweet corn, fruits, vegetables that provide us energy and balance the sugar levels in the body. Though it will not taste like sugar everytime but will satisfy you.
Small Candy or sweet: Instead of eating a huge peice of cake or pastry to satisfy your sugar cravings pop in a candy or sweet. Don’t bite and chew it but rather keep it on your tounge for a longer time. It will add less of calories from sugar and keep cravings under control. Mind don’t eat candies consecutively.
Deviate your mind: Though you know the tips to ward it off but when the craving starts happening it is difficult to keep ourselves back. It is better to deviate the mind from sugar by talking a walk, eat a mouth freshener, mint, chewing gum or eat dark chocolates. Try moving the thoughts of sugar cravings from the mind as it will help you the most in long term and in being healthy.Author Information — this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo