Our everyday life is filled with quick, cheap access to sugar whenever we are craving it — and even when we aren’t.
Supermarkets and convenience stores are stocked with cookies, candy, sugary beverages and other sweet snacks strategically placed at the checkout prompting unhealthy impulse buys.
What’s more, sugar can be hidden under many names and disguised in different foods, ranging from condiments to frozen fruits.
Even after a satisfying meal, that sugar craving can hit you hard. This could be due to factors such as dehydration or lack of sleep.
Another explanation, which is a big one for me, is ‘hedonic hunger’ — or eating for pleasure rather than for satisfaction.
Apparently researchers are still trying to figure out why this happens, but before we take the first bite, the sight of a sugary or fatty food causes the brain’s reward circuit to get excited.
Once the sweet treat hits your tastebuds, signals are fired off to the brain to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that causes an intense feeling of pleasure.
Overeating of sugary foods not only floods the brain with dopamine but also creates a pattern of sugar craving.
In a short time, the brain starts to crave more sugar to reach the same threshold of pleasure it once got from small amounts of these feel-good foods.
To cut back or manage your sugar intake, start by tracking your intake with an app like My Fitness Pal and prioritising whole foods. Also, certain foods can provide important satiating nutrients like protein, healthy fats and fibre to keep you fuller, longer and prevent cravings caused by blood sugar crashes.
Here are some options you may like to try, to help stem those sugar cravings.
ALMONDS- high in fibre, protein and healthy fats to keep you satisfied for longer.
AVOCADO- high in fibre and healthy fats, so it can keep you feeling fuller for longer as well a being great for your heart.
CHEESE- great source of protein and fat to help balance blood sugar, tyrosine that tells the brain to release dopamine and also provides micronutrients, like zinc, calcium and vitamin B12.
PUMPKIN SEEDS- source of protein, fiber and fat and are rich in magnesium. If you crave chocolate, maybe your body needs this.
SWEET POTATO- naturally sweet without sugar, so a good substitutes for sugary options when your sweet tooth hits. A fiber-rich complex carbohydrate, they also offer long lasting energy.
Although we most of us love to treat ourselves from time to time with a sugary treat, lets all make a bigger effort to limit ourselves for the good of our bodies, as well as increased and faster results from all our training. I hope that these listed options are appealing to you and you can start implementing them into diet and they help keep those sugar cravings at bay just a little more, but remember…spoiling yourself now and then can really help you to stay 90% on track with a healthy eating plan.