I have a love-love affair with sugar – desserts, candy and ice cream, specifically chocolate chip mint. While you won’t find me on the couch downing a pint, I do need my daily fix. Whether it be Justin’s miniature peanut butter cups (hey, at least its in the healthy section at the supermarket), dark chocolate or double bubble gum, I crave that special something to satisfy my sweet tooth.
In the past, I have successfully abstained from sugar for a month or two at a time but I have not been able to make this a long term habit. I mean, who can resist Licorice Nibs, Chuckles and lemon tarts? In an attempt to look for a long term solution, I turned to my dear friend and nutritionist, Tanya Zuckerbrot, for some professional advice on how to kick the cravings and here is what she had to say…
Eat Fiber – A diet high in fiber can help reduce sugar cravings, because cravings result from a drop in blood sugar levels and a high fiber diet helps keep blood sugar levels stable. Refined carbohydrates on the other hand, causes a sudden surge in our blood sugar rapidly giving us a burst of energy, followed by a subsequent drop, resulting in a state of very low blood sugar, hypoglycemia. This causes us to crave more carbohydrates and sugar so our bodies can return to that stable level.
Fiber takes longer to digest than refined carbohydrates, so glucose is
released into the bloodstream gradually. Thus, that spike and drop of blood
sugar levels that results in hypoglycemia is avoided, and such drastic
Switch your breakfast to high fiber crackers topped with lean proteins and
this will help keep your blood sugar level stable, and cravings at bay as you
go through your day.
Cut out sugar temporarily by going cold turkey – Sugar is addictive, therefore giving into your sweet tooth regularly can actually increase sugar cravings overall. Many people find that going cold turkey can help minimize long term cravings. The first couple of days might be tough, but in a few days you will have a reduced urge to indulge.
Don’t skip meals – Eat all your meals and snacks regularly. When you skip meals, blood sugar levels begin to drop. Low blood sugar produces sudden hunger pangs, which can trigger binging, food cravings, and clouded judgment when selecting foods. Blood sugar levels begin to drop within two hours of eating, so eating 4 small meals regularly at 4-5 hour intervals should help minimize cravings.
Drink enough water – Drinking 8-12 cups of water daily is a must to prevent dehydration, and thereby maximize your defense against sugar cravings. Being dehydrated can mimic feelings of hunger. Many times, our hunger is really just thirst in disguise and you can experience symptoms such as weakness, crankiness and fatigue. To get rid of these symptoms, we then grab a candy bar when all we really needed was water. By drinking enough water in our day, these sudden feelings (and subsequent urges to eat sugar) are not experienced.
Ideally, I would like to abstain from sugar as a long term goal but I need baby steps. Two weeks ago, I decided to cut out sugar for one month (I actually shook on it) and for the ‘most’ part I have upheld my part of the deal. My daughter ordered a tub of Double Bubble gum and I succumbed to its delightful bursts of sugar. I also had a few bites of cake one night in a fit of emotional eating. No matter, I did not take this as total failure and I got right back on track. I approach every day as a new day and since I’m blogging this, I am holding myself accountable and plan on being as close to perfect as I can until my birthday in 22 days (but who’s counting) when I will celebrate accordingly!
Keep you posted!
For more tips on how to eliminate sugar from your diet, check out this link: http://www.drfranklipman.com/20-ways-to-get-sugar-out-of-your-life/