What to Eat When You're Craving Sugar
Sugar cravings are bound to appear whenever you consume sugar. In a recent survey, 99% of Americans reported eating something when they weren’t hungry. And though it seems that women are more likely to crave fatty and sweet foods than men, the truth is that a sugar craving can affect anyone, regardless of gender, and at any time.
Let’s take a closer look into why you may crave sugar and some important methods for cutting it from your diet for good.
Why Do I Always Want Sugar?
Consuming sugar is something that you probably have become accustomed to all your life, so there are a few reasons why you could be craving sugar. Listed below are some reasons why you could be having cravings, but if you would like a more in-depth analysis of why you might have a sweet tooth, you can read more on our guide to sugar cravings.
You Could Be Dehydrated
One reason why you may crave sugar is dehydration. It’s a far more common issue than you may realize, and if you notice that you are feeling thirsty, you may already be dehydrated. When the body is dry, there are some physiologic changes that the body experiences. One of the first changes is a hormonal shift, and often this involves the hormones relating to hunger. The hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin control your appetite and tell your brain when you are full, and they play a major role in sugar cravings. When these hormones are not well maintained or under control, you may notice that your cravings are more intense or occur more frequently.
You Normally Eat More Sugar Than What is Recommended
Part of the reason you are craving sugar throughout the day is that you are used to eating sugar, and lots of it. Americans are consuming an unhealthy amount of sugar, with about 13% of calories coming from sugar each day on average. While it may seem that you are eating more than you should, understand that you are not alone, as almost every adult you know is in the same situation.
Your Hormones May Be Affected
The last reason you could be craving sugar is due to another hormone issue, but this time relating to dopamine. Dopamine is the happy hormone in your brain that is present when you are euphoric. Your brain releases dopamine when you eat sugar, so the euphoria you get from consuming food with high amounts of sugar is the dopamine taking effect. Sugar cravings are simply your brain’s way of trying to get that same satisfaction again, similar to a child having a temper tantrum in a store.
The Best Foods that Curb Sugar Cravings
Wondering what to eat when craving sugar? For anyone looking for ways on how to stop sugar cravings, the answer is that it depends greatly on some factors. One factor is your motivation to make a change; another is having the tools around you to succeed. Motivation comes from within, and it can depend on how serious you are about making a change. However, the tools you need to stop craving sugar are the foods you eat. To fully stop eating sugar, it is important to surround your environment you with healthy options.
Here are a few foods that curb sugar cravings so you know what to eat when you're craving sweets:
One of the best foods for cravings, in general, is nuts. Nuts, especially almonds, cashews, and walnuts are all high in omega fats. Typically, nuts have protein in each serving and no sugar (except for honey-roasted or other flavored nuts—avoid those). If you are looking for one of the best foods to aid in improving your overall health, then consider a handful of plain roasted nuts each day. Make sure to read all packaging labels to ensure that you do not purchase nuts that contain added sugar sprinkled in. Lastly, avoid salted nuts, as a salty diet can promote sugar cravings.
Veggies are a great option for anyone looking to curb sugar cravings. Delicious for snacking, raw broccoli is a great option for anyone looking to have a healthy alternative when a sugar craving pops up. A single serving of broccoli contains minimal amounts of fructose, which is important when you are looking to curb your sugar cravings. Consider this a healthy alternative to chips, candy bars, and gummies midday. Not to mention, raw broccoli is very low in calories, so this is a great option for anyone looking to lose weight.
3. Healthy Sweet Snacks
Similar to broccoli listed above, raw carrots are one of the best foods for snacking. A serving of carrots contains ample fiber, and typically they contain low amounts of sugar as well. Consider adding raw carrots to your diet if you have a sugar craving throughout the day, though be mindful that most dips for raw veggies have high amounts of salt and sugar. Raw carrots are a great snack to have on hand after work while preparing dinner.
One great way to curb sugar cravings is to eat more protein throughout the day. Typically, a four-ounce serving of tuna steak is sufficient to cause your hunger hormones to be well maintained for many hours after eating since a typical serving of tuna has more than 20 grams of protein in a serving. While adding more protein to your diet can help to control your hunger hormones, it is important to avoid sugary protein shakes, as these will only add to your cravings at a different time of the day. Consider grilled or roasted tuna or other meaty fish to help your cravings.
5. Nutritional Aids
While it is not technically a food, there are things you can ingest to reduce sugar cravings. One example is Sweet Defeat, a mint-flavored lozenge that is specifically designed to fight sugar cravings. Whenever you feel a sugar craving coming on, simply place one in your mouth and allow the effects to quickly take place. There are only five ingredients in Sweet Defeat, all of which are natural and plant-based. The key ingredient is Gymnema leaf extract, which has been used for hundreds of years as a natural way to fight sugar cravings. Also, zinc, a common mineral that is required in your diet, works synergistically with Gymnema to put block sugar cravings.Consider taking a look at Sweet Defeat here for more information, including success others have had when using the product.
There are not many fruits mentioned on this list of best foods for sugar cravings, but the avocado is fantastic to enjoy any time you have a craving. For starters, a whole avocado is only about 300 calories, which is great if you are also looking to lose a few pounds. Also, this fruit contains virtually no sugar, which is unusual for a fruit. The only downside to avocado is that it contains a lot of fat, but they are healthy ones— mostly omega fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). Consider adding avocado to salads, on toast, or as a snack as a way to fight off sugar cravings.
Similar to the tuna steak listed before, salmon is a fantastic food you can enjoy if you are experiencing sugar cravings. Consuming proteins as a whole food (and not in something that can be laden with sugar like a protein shake) can play a major role in controlling hunger hormones as well as how well your body adapts to insulin. Eating protein with every meal helps to ensure that your blood sugar levels are well maintained, which means your insulin release is better controlled and can lead to a decrease in sugar cravings later in the day. Consider having four ounces of salmon for dinner as a way to help prevent sugar cravings before bedtime.
This is another lean protein option, similar to both tuna and salmon. Chicken is a popular choice among adults looking to cut out sugar cravings. This meat is loaded with lean protein and generally a four-ounce serving at a meal should help to regulate your blood sugar levels so that you do not have any pesky cravings hit you. Grilled chicken is one healthy option for preparation.
This next listing is technically not food either, but it is something that you should consume as much as possible. Water is the most abundant substance in the body, and when you’re dehydrated, your hormones can trick your brain into thinking you are hungry, which could lead to a sugar craving. While there is no magic number of water to drink, the rule of thumb is to have about six to eight glasses each day, or about 64 ounces. Avoid sodas, sports drinks, juices, or adding sugary enhancers to your water to keep it healthy.
This beverage is also one of the most widely consumed drinks in the world (aside from water). Tea has many benefits for your health including improved mental clarity, reduced inflammation, as well as fighting sugar cravings. There are a few tea options to consider here, but chai and echinacea tea are popular options any time you are feeling a sugar craving coming on. Either hot or cold tea is great whenever you feel a craving come on, and make sure you don’t add any sweetener to your tea.
11. High Fiber Foods
The final suggestion here includes any food that is high in fiber. Fiber is important for curbing your appetite as well as for stopping sugar cravings. This is a win-win for anyone looking to lose a few pounds while saying goodbye to sugar. Consider eating foods that contain at least five grams of fiber per serving for the best results. Also, adults should aim for about 25-30 grams of fiber every day for optimal health. Some of the best options include whole grains, beans, legumes, and veggies.
How to Curb Your Cravings
It is important to find ways to curb your sugar cravings whenever they pop up. Many people think about going cold turkey to r quit sugar, but sometimes this is not the best option. For this reason, consuming foods that can help to stop your sugar cravings is a great option. For starters, consider swapping out some of the sugary foods in your diet for simple options such as fresh veggies and high-protein snacks when you don't know what to eat when craving sweets. Also, consuming water throughout the day can help to keep you hydrated so that your hunger hormones are in proper balance. If you like a bit more help in your journey to curb sugar cravings, consider using Sweet Defeat as a sure way to stop your cravings quickly.
Sugar cravings are inevitable when your diet is loaded with both natural and artificial sweeteners. For the past few decades, companies have added more sugar to products as a way to enhance flavor and get customers to like the taste of their products. However, it is becoming common knowledge that consuming large amounts of sugar is just not healthy and can lead to sugar addiction. High sugar consumption can increase the risk of many conditions including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, as well as cancer. Consider any of the foods listed above as great alternatives to sugary treats and consider nutritional aids when these foods are not enough to stop cravings.