The Sweet Addiction
A good question concerning sugar is why is it so hard to stop sugar cravings? Sugar is a naturally occurring carbohydrate that supplies energy to the body in the form of glucose and fructose. Sugar and processed food are as addictive as drugs like heroin or cocaine. Therefore, when the body feeds low on calorie, it tries to catch up on fuel by eating something sweet. Calories are the king of real energy. So it is best taken in the form of whole foods like guacamole, falafel salad, etc.
Cravings are more driven by the brain’s need for reward more than the body’s need for food. Sweet tasting foods boost the energy levels and mood, alters the brains chemistry. Likewise, this boosts the levels of serotonin and endorphins. When the body intakes an overdose of sugar, it gets stored in the fat cells instead of the muscles. The brain, muscle and organs all need sugar to function. Also, sugar is vital to have proper blood sugar levels in the body.
What Causes the Cravings?
Before curbing the cravings, it is vital to know the cause of cravings. Well, cravings denote the body’s need for protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and so on. It is more than often confused as non-selective hunger where one ends up binging on almost anything. So, some common causes of sugar cravings are:
- A lack of nutrients often causes sugar cravings. Our body is a mix of smart systems to keep us alive. So when the body lacks a specific nutrient, it starts craving it. Also, magnesium deficiency often boosts chocolate cravings.
- An imbalance in the gut health causes sugar craving. Trillions of bacteria control the state of our health. An excess of sugar intake makes them feed on the consumed sugar in your diet.
- Lack of proper sleep impacts the hormones. Because it increases the ghrelin (hunger hormone) and lowers the leptin which boosts the sweet cravings.
- Carbohydrates and proteins are vital for stopping the food cravings. Since it stabilizes the blood sugar levels in the body. Again, removing protein from the diet quickens the process of sugar release from food into the body. However, excess intake of complex carbohydrates makes the body insulin resistant.
- Dehydration is one of the most common causes of sugar cravings. Low fluid intake makes it hard for the body to metabolize stored glucose (glycogen). This, in turn, makes the body crave sugar for energy.
Ditch Sugar for High Levels of Testosterone
The American Heart Association states that men should eat only 150 calories per day which is (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons of sugar). Monosaccharides are the most common form of sugar. It includes galactose, glucose, fructose and so on. In men insulin resistance caused by increased sugar eating lowers the testosterone count.
Low levels of testosterone decrease muscle mass and boost body fat. Excessive sugar intake lowers the production of growth hormone that the pituitary gland secretes in a deep sleep. Growth hormone is vital for keeping an optimal libido. Likewise, in men andropause along with testosterone deficiency boosts sugar cravings.
Fight the Perils of High Insulin Levels
Reportedly high insulin levels cause unwanted hair growth. It also causes infertility and boosts breast growth in men. When we ingest sugar our insulin surely raises. And higher levels of insulin lowers the testosterone levels. Higher levels of sugar consumption in the diet get converted to lipid in the liver.
Sugar intake bears a direct impact on erections. Sugar is made of half glucose and half fructose. The fructose content in sugar lowers nitric oxide. This is a vital chemical required for a firm and lasting erection. Ingestion of oral glucose tends to reduce the pulsatile part of testosterone secretion. Sugar is often taken under stress, strain and depression. Hence this leads to weight gain that bears a negative impact on the testosterone levels.
8 Tips to Stop Sugar Cravings
Sugar cravings are more of an indulgence. One can curb it only when one realizes that craving is different from hunger. Allergies, adrenal fatigue, bacterial overgrowth and hormonal changes are causes of sugar cravings. Also, a craving is more so like an addiction. However, addiction to sweet craving is slightly easier to break. Follow these simple tips to stop sugar cravings:
1. Hot Shower
One of the most effective ways to stop sugar cravings is by taking a hot shower. Ensure that the water is not too hot. Take a soothing shower for 5-7 minutes. The hot shower calms the nerves and destroys cravings to a great extent. Moreover, this is helpful in battling a lot of addictions as well.
Black beans, navy beans, white beans, lima beans, etc are rich sources of fiber. They are a vital part of sugar detox. Beans regulate blood sugar levels which help stop sugar cravings. High fiber foods also reduce bloating and bad breath too.
3. Consume proteins
Foods rich in protein are the best replacements to sugary foods. They regulate the blood sugar levels. A meal rich in protein slows down the absorption of sugar. It also lowers glucose spikes which in turn lowers the sugar cravings. Lean chicken, salmon and steak are sources of pure proteins. Also, they forbid insulin release in the body.
4. Boost Serotonin
Serotonin greatly impacts the whole body. The effects span from human emotions to motor skills. The other name for serotonin is the happiness hormone. You can boost serotonin through proper diet, exercise and the right sleep schedule. Higher levels of serotonin in the body stop sugar cravings.
5. Chewing gum
Chewing sugar-free gum reportedly reduces the feeling of hunger and cravings. It plays a heavy role in appetite control and aids weight management. It boosts the energy level in turn and reduces intake of carb-heavy foods.
6. Sweet potatoes
They help in reducing the glycemic index. It is rich in fibers which help in reducing cravings. It contains a strong composition of potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, magnesium, etc. Thus it fights stress related cravings too.
7. Eat Sea Vegetables
Seaweed and sea vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals. Consumption of sugar depletes the mineral content in the body. Eating portions of sea vegetables restore the nutrient balance in the body and reduce sweet cravings. It includes vegetables like –Wakame, Arame, kelp, spirulina, etc.
Dates are, without a doubt, a healthy replacement for sugar. With a caramel-like taste and texture, dates have fewer calories than sugar. Moreover, dates are full of soluble fiber and prevent LDL absorption in the stomach.
Say no to Sugar for a Healthy Living
Sugar is a carbohydrate. Consumption of carbohydrates releases the feel-good chemical serotonin. Hence, this boosts a feeling of craving. You cannot stop sugar cravings in one go. However, combining a sweet with a nutritious option reverses the harmful impact of sugar. For example, dipping a banana in organic peanut butter. Hence, ensure you never skip meals as it lowers blood sugar levels. Thus snack on portions of whole foods like beans, nuts, low-fat dairy products, etc.
To stop sugar cravings, it is vital to strike a proper balance between ghrelin and leptin. Again, proper sleep keeps these hormones in check and reduces the sugar cravings. Often exercising stops sugar cravings in the body. Stop sugar cravings with natural sweeteners like apple, carrot, raisins, berries and so on.