Sugar is everywhere. In everything. Often, we don’t even know that we are consuming it but as far as drugs go it’s highly addictive, a hard habit to break and ultimately, if your consumption of it goes unchecked, it could even kill you.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know but what is it about sugar that keeps us coming back for more? Why can’t we say no to that chocolate or those two sugars in our latte? In this article, we look at how sugar cravings work and four ways that you can beat them and get on top of controlling your sugar consumption.
Firstly, let us look at what makes sugar so addictive. Scientists have discovered that sugar stimulates the same areas of the brain as cocaine and heroin. It has been found to give the same sense of pleasure as those two class A drugs by releasing serotonin (the pleasure hormone) in to the bloodstream. Think about that for a minute: as pleasurable and potentially as addictive as heroin. That’s crazy.
However, there is more to sugar than that comparison alone. Scientists believe that we are instinctively attracted to sugar, as we are to salt and fat, for one simple reason: survival. Sugar is important to the brain as our neurons can’t store it so need a constant supply but going way back in time high calorie foods were more critical to survival due to the uncertain and irregular supply of foods.
Now we have it clear how sugar works on our bodies let’s find out how we beat those cravings and keep our sugar consumption under control.
Eat High Protein Foods
Eating high protein foods will satiate you, i.e. make you feel more full. High protein foods also help to keep your blood sugar levels constant therefore reducing sugar cravings. A great morning routine is to have a high protein meal such as eggs but also include a Spirulina smoothie or just mix Spirulina with water. Spirulina is 60% protein and is the most nutrient dense food on the planet, a great start to your day and should be included in your diet.
Don’t Cut Out Sugar Completely
The movement ‘I Quit Sugar’ has been very active on social media the last few years. The truth is that quitting sugar completely isn’t necessarily good for us either. It’s good for firing our brains but at the same time we should be regulating it, with the recommended daily intake being 9 teaspoons a day for men and 6 teaspoons a day for women (American Heart Association recommendation). Take a few days to measure how much sugar you consume, you might be surprised. Cut out that sugar in your tea or coffee, that could mean 5-10 teaspoons a day just from tea or coffee alone. Also, have a treat every now and then, just stop the blind consumption of sugar. Once you measure it you can begin to achieve goals.
Get Creative With Healthy Foods
Looking at a salad isn’t that inspiring to be honest. Although it’s great for you it is hard to get excited about it so why not reinvent it? Get creative with your healthy foods, create an Acai bowl and become a hit on Instagram, check out some of the new and exciting health food brands and Superfoods on the market. A lot of these products have a huge novelty value but are also extremely high in vitamins and nutrients. Make eating fun, adventurous and exciting then you’ll be itching to fix that healthy meal.
Beat Your Chocolate Addiction
Let’s face it, chocolate is the thing which can push you over the edge as far as sugar consumption goes. It must be one of the best foods ever to grace this Earth; ever met anyone that doesn’t like chocolate? Exactly. The problem is it’s full of sugar, less so if you eat 85% cocoa content chocolate, but this is often too bitter for some people. There is an easy solution to this problem: bake your own cakes and chocolate using organic Cacao. Cacao is the raw, unprocessed form of cocoa and is extremely healthy: full of protein, iron, vitamin C, magnesium and chromium, which is great at reducing sugar cravings. Once you start using Cacao as an ingredient you’ll wonder what it was you were eating before.
Let’s not get militant and start a war on quitting sugar completely. The best thing to do is be informed about sugar, understand how much you are consuming and start to manage consumption one step at a time by making small changes. In a month you will notice a significant difference in how you feel and probably your weight as well. Get turned on to healthy foods and start becoming more cognisant about what you put in your body and you’ll reap the rewards.