How to reduce sugar cravings and what they might really be telling you
Sugar is a highly discussed topic in the world of nutrition, not only because of the notable negative health consequences it can have, but also because of how many people it impacts. Many individuals (including myself) experience sugar cravings, and most of the time, these cravings can be a signal of other health imbalances. Learning about sugar, and sugar cravings, is an important part of empowering yourself and taking back your health, so let's dive a little deeper into what these cravings are, what they might be telling you, and how to reduce them!
It's important to first note that sugar is addictive, and unfortunately, it is found in so many of our foods. If you take a closer look at the ingredients in your packaged or processed items, you might be surprised to find that refined sugar is not just added to sweets, but also to everyday items like bread, pasta sauces, condiments, drinks, and more!
In general, sugar cravings are when your body asks for a sweet and sugary food. Most of the time, these cravings are not for naturally sweet foods (such as fruits), but rather for processed sweets, such as ice cream, cookies, cake, etc.. These cravings can be a sign of an imbalance, such as dehydration, a lack of protein in your diet, or dissatisfaction in a certain area of your life.
Sugar, especially in excess, is linked to inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, poor sleep quality, skin problems, hormonal imbalances, and many more negative health consequences. But since sugar is all around us, it can be really hard to avoid it! Thankfully, there are realistic and simple ways to reduce our sugar cravings and overall intake of this ingredient.
The list below offers a few options for helping you reduce those sugar cravings, which in turn can help your overall health and wellbeing.
Ways to reduce sugar cravings:
◦ Use sweet veggies- veggies such as sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, beets, corn, and carrots are all on the sweeter side, and incorporating them into your meals is a great way to give your body some natural sweetness and reduce sugar cravings throughout the day.
For an easy-to-make sweet veggie recipe, check out: https://www.faustinemicheyl.com/post/sweet-potato-hash
◦ Focus on protein- sugar cravings can potentially be a sign of protein deficiency, so be sure to incorporate protein into your meals. Foods such as tempeh, quinoa, beans, lentils, and chickpeas are all great sources of natural protein that can also add nice flavor and texture to your dishes.
◦ Sleep- I know that personally, I experience the most sugar cravings when I'm tired, and not getting enough sleep is also linked to poor lifestyle choices. Sleeping a good amount can help you reduce sugar cravings, make better health choices, and improve the quality of your overall life.
◦ Drink water- sugar cravings can also be a sign of dehydration, so make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. Lemon water specifically is also said to help reduce these cravings by combating the desire for sweet with a sour food.
◦ Opt for naturally sweet foods- when facing a sugar craving, and in everyday foods choices, opting for naturally sweeter foods (such as dates, fruits, and dark chocolate) is a great way to add some sweetness into your diet while still avoiding the more addictive refined sugar. Making your own homemade baked goods (such as muffins, cookies, brownies, etc..) is also a nice way to make healthy alternatives to foods you love, while using more natural sweeteners.
◦ Limit stress- because stress and sugar cravings are linked for many people, reducing stress can help reduce those sugar cravings and again help improve the overall quality of your life. Meditation, yoga, walking, getting out in nature, or talking to a loved one are all great ways to naturally reduce the amount of stress in your life.
◦ Check in on your relationships, career, and mental health- sugar cravings can be sign of dissatisfaction in an area of your life that isn't necessarily related to food. We may opt for sugar when we are bored, unhappy, or looking to add literal "sweetness" into our lives. Checking in on your satisfaction in areas such as relationships, career, the environment you live in (amongst others) can help you see where healthy adjustments can be made, which will in turn help reduce the sugar cravings that are coming from a non-dietary source.
◦ As always, be kind with yourself- sugar is all around us, and it can be really hard to avoid it, so be kind to yourself as you start working on reducing those sugar cravings. We all have moments where we struggle to make healthy choices for ourselves, and this is a normal part of life. Take it one step at a time and be sure to show yourself some gratitude and love even for small steps.
If you're looking for some support when it comes to combatting sugar cravings, or you are looking to find a healthy balance in your life and nutrition, working with a health coach might be right for you! To learn more and start your journey to a healthier life, sign up for your free consultation today at https://www.faustinemicheyl.com/bookings-checkout/consultation-1/book