Updated: Aug 13, 2021
Welcome back to ✨SUGAR SCHOOL.✨
Sugar School is a 4-week series where I am teaching you exactly how to break up with sugar. In our last lesson we learned to be a sugar sleuth and find hidden sources of sugar on the nutrition label.
Today’s lesson is: How to beat sugar cravings, and class is back in session.
If you haven't had a chance yet: CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE CHALLENGE
The RETHINK YOUR DRINK CHALLENGE began August 1 and will end August 31. The challenge workbook/beverage glossary/ list of sugar synonyms/ YOUR BFF for decoding nutrition labels is attached to this blog post. 🙂
Several studies have found that sugar affects the brain’s reward system. This reward system helps humans survive, but it is also involved in addictive behavior. Eating sugar regularly alters your brain, building up a tolerance to it and causing you to need more to get the same effect. When you try to reduce sugar intake you may have initial symptoms of withdrawal such as depressed mood, cravings, anxiety, nausea, and fatigue. Use these tips as your first line of defense to combat your sugar cravings.
Eat protein with every meal.
My first tip to decrease cravings is to add a source of protein to every single meal,
especially breakfast. Protein is SATISFYING and may help to control cravings by increasing homovanillic acid, which is associated with higher dopamine levels and fewer cravings. It is recommended you consume 13-25 grams of protein per meal.
Examples of protein rich foods include chicken, salmon, eggs, turkey, beef, Greek yogurt, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils
Increase your fiber intake.
High fiber foods take longer to digest, causing you to feel fuller for longer.
Fiber helps to balance blood sugar & feed the good bugs in our gut. When you have a healthy gut you will have less cravings. Aim to eat 30 to 38 grams of fiber daily. Fiber filled foods include apples, avocados, broccoli, chickpeas, chia seeds, oats, pears, prunes. popcorn and raspberries.
Eat a healthy fat with every meal
Fats create feelings of fullness and satiety and promote blood sugar balance. Fats are the only macro nutrient that does not directly raise blood sugar levels.
Aim to include 1-2 tbsp. with every meal.
Examples of healthy fats include nuts/nut butters, seeds, avocados, olive or avocado oil and fatty fish such as salmon.
Experiment with light fasting.
Studies suggest that fasting may improve blood sugar and insulin levels. Eat your meals in a 12-hour window (think 8am to 8pm) & then give your body an eating break for the next 12-hours. If you have health issues, check with a professional before fasting.
Aim to get 7 plus hours of sleep every night. Not getting enough sleep increases hormones called endocannabinoids which have been linked to increased hunger hormones and the munchies. One study found individuals who slept fewer than 7 hours/night ate an additional 500-800 calories of junk food.
Manage your stress
When you are stressed cortisol goes up which makes you hungry and crave sugar.
Sugar also appears to have a calming effect on stress hormones, which contributes to your desire for sugar when feeling stressed. Keeping your stress in check will make it easier to cut sugar from your diet and help keep cravings under control. Taking a short walk, talking to a friend, and reading a book are a few simple ways to relax.
MOVE your body.
Exercise can help increase energy and reduce stress, which can help combat symptoms like fatigue, low energy levels, and stress-induced cravings that may occur when decreasing your added sugar intake. Even just a 15-minute brisk walk can reduce cravings for sugary snacks like chocolate.
With these tips you will be armed to combat any cravings.
Here’s your HOMEWORK:
"Grade" yourself in each of these 5 areas. Aim to improve any low grades to help your body crave less sugar.
Stop saying "I am addicted to sugar", "I am someone who loves sweets”, etc.
All of those things become self-fulfilling prophecies. Change your self-talk, change your life.
In our next lesson I will be teaching you smart sugar swaps.
Until then, class is dismissed.