How To Stop Craving Sugar
Even those of us with the strongest will power can struggle to give up the sweet stuff - which makes sense when you consider that your body is quite literally programmed to want more and more of it for energy.
Interestingly a recent study by Washington University found that even new-born babies prefer sweet to savoury flavours, which is an evolutionary trait that dates back caveman times when seeking out foods with higher calories meant more energy to survive. Except nowadays we don’t need to search high and low over land and sea to forage for berries, but our sweet tooth’s still remain.
And bags of penny sweets aren’t the only culprits - sugar hides in lots of everyday foods and drinks, and not just sweet-tasting ones. Read on to see what swaps you can make to cut down on sugar and curb cravings...
Where does sugar hide?
While refined sugar is obviously present in sweet foods, the NHS reports that plenty of us unknowingly consume extra sugar every day from the likes of alcohol, ready meals, processed savoury foods like white bread and even soup. So why not try the following swaps?
Food swaps to make
Swap... ketchup for salsa. Ketchup can be alarming high in sugar - a whopping 22g in each 100g serving is common. If you plump for a homemade salsa, using just tomatoes, lime juice, chilli and spring onions, you'll still have a yummy condiment that won't make your blood sugar spike.
Swap... pizza base for cauliflower base or wholemeal bases. Pizza bases can be high in sugar when ready-made, so opt for one made of wholemeal flour, which has a lower glycemic index. Alternatively, get creative and make a base from cauliflower. (link here)
Swap... white bread for rye bread. Rye bread is less processed, and contains considerably less refined sugars than white bread. It's also higher in fibre, making you feel fuller for longer.
Swap...flavoured yoghurt for plain yoghurt with fruit. The fruit flavourings in yoghurts are usually from concentrate and artificial, meaning they don't contain any nutritional benefits - just sugar! Opt for protein-rich plain yoghurt and top with fresh fruit for an antioxidant hit.
Swap...fizzy drinks for water with a twist. Kick your soft drink habit by keeping water interesting. Try adding mint leaves, cucumber, orange slices or lemon to jazz it up.
Swap...sugary cereal for porridge. Lots of cereals are loaded with sugar and carbs but don't keep you full for long. Opt for fibre and nutrient-rich porridge, which helps with digestion, and add sliced banana or nuts and seeds for an added healthy hit.
What about cravings?
Cravings are normal, but if you can power through them, they will lessen over time. Some people credit the supplement L Glutamine as having helped with theirs - Kamilla Schaffner of My London Nutritionist told us, "L Glutamine is a very powerful amino acid that reduces inflammatory responses in the gut and is a constituent of your glucose tolerance factor. This is a chemical within the body that helps regulate glucose levels."
Kamilla went to on add, "It can optimise your liver function, which will have a positive effect on your glucose control - a great way to manage sugar cravings and emotional eating habits." Plus, it'll give you an energy rush. Kamilla advises speaking to a GP or nutritionist to work out the best dose for you.