If you experience sugar cravings, you are not alone. Your brain convinces you that a sugary treat will be a reward and you start to want it. These tips may help you fight sugar cravings naturally.
Understanding Sugar Cravings
Sugar cravings are different from hunger. Your body doesn’t need food when you get the urge to reach for a cookie or cake. Your body just wants a treat. Each time you indulge with a sugary snack, you strengthen the neural pathway — which makes your body expect the same reward the next time.
Some people may be able to enjoy a small morsel or a sweet treat and stop there, such as having a single square from a dark chocolate bar. If you can have a taste of the item you crave and stop there, you may be able to handle your cravings on your own. If you intend to have only one square of chocolate, then wind up eating half of the bar, it’s better to avoid the temptation using tricks. Each time you are successfully able to delay a sweet snack, you strengthen your resolve so it becomes easier the next time.
Pay attention to what you are doing when you develop the craving for something sweet. Is it at a certain time of day, such as mid-afternoon? Do you tend to reach for sugar because you are tired at work, or bored at home, or after you’ve done a particular activity you dislike, such as cleaning the house?
Understanding what makes you reach for the sugar is the first step to changing behavior. If you’re eating out of boredom, replace snacking with something stimulating. If it’s fatigue, switch to lunches that contain lean protein, which fills you with energy.
Eating healthy meals is a good goal no matter what, but it can help your cravings. If you’re full of a healthy, nutritious meal, you are less likely to reach for the candy because you’re too full to eat it. If your cravings slow down to occasional urges, you may be able to indulge without feeling guilty that you ate what you wanted.
Distraction is another proven technique to fight sugar cravings. If you are bored, tired, or looking for sugar to change your mood, get up and go for a walk. Exercise is not only beneficial, but it puts distance between you and that sweet treat. You can’t go grab a piece of chocolate when you’re down the block getting in exercise. Moving your body releases endorphins, which give you the feel-good rush many people get from eating sugar.
If you’ve tried these tips and still want sugar, try fruit instead. Fruit contains natural sugars, plus vitamins and minerals. It’s a smarter swap for the cookies and candies you crave.
See Your Dentist
Whether you struggle with sugar cravings or feel like you have the urge under control, have your teeth cleaned twice a year to remove plaque and tartar. Reserve your appointment with our Tampa dentist.