Sweet treats can be a part of a balanced diet when you eat them only in moderation. But what happens if you start to crave them too often? The truth is that everyone gets sugar cravings sometimes, so the question becomes how to manage them.
Researchers have found out why people get sugar cravings. If you know how they happen, then you can learn to control them.
Why We Crave Sugar
If you crave sugary foods, you are not alone. A lot of adults want them too. Unfortunately, these cravings are often for sugary food.
Scientists have long believed that people crave carbohydrates and sugary foods because it makes them happy. This is because when you eat sweet treats, your brain has more serotonin.
Although serotonin may cause your food cravings, other things can make you feel hungry. These might include:
Emotional stress: When you are stressed, you may eat food for comfort. Sugar is a natural choice when you are feeling down because it makes your feel-good hormones stronger.
Macronutrient imbalance: is when you eat many carbs, sugars, and fat without getting enough protein, fats, and fiber. This can make your blood sugar go up and down. If you have breakfast with no protein or fiber in it, for example, a donut or pastry, you are likely to feel hungry again after eating it. Your body craves sugar when it wants quick energy.
Lack of sleep: Studies have found that people often crave sweet, salty, and starchy foods when tired. Some studies also found that people make poor food choices when they are tired.
Underconsumption of calories: If you don’t eat enough, your body wants more quick energy. In that situation, your sugar cravings might increase.
Frequent use of artificial sweeteners: Zero-calorie sweeteners can make you crave more sugar. It is best to only use them every once in a while, but some brands are further out of range than others.
Micronutrient deficiency: Micronutrient deficiency is when your body does not have enough vitamins, minerals, etc. Some nutrition experts think that a magnesium deficiency might lead to increased sugar cravings. There may be some truth to this, but there needs to be more research done.
Cravings vs. Addiction
If these causes sound familiar, you might be addicted to sugar. Not all scientists agree, but some say that there is not enough evidence to prove that sugar is an addicting substance.
Chemical addiction is when you need to use a substance, and it takes over your life. You can’t stop using the substance, and you experience withdrawal if you stop using it. Sugar addiction is when people crave sugar because their body releases feel-good chemicals.
You May Also Like: 15 Top Collagen Drinks Available Online For Youthful Skin
It is possible that behavioral addictions like gambling are not just about substances but also behaviors. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) only officially recognizes gambling as a behavioral addiction. But you can be addicted to other things too, like food, shopping or even video games.
When you crave sugar, it can feel like you are addicted. However, it is important to remember that your food habits are not as bad as they might seem.
Addictions come with a lot of pressure. Therefore, it is important to have support from people who know how to help you overcome them. People may need the help of a doctor or nurse, but sometimes it can be done on your own by changing what you eat or drink.
How Much Is Too Much?
Avoiding all sugar is not a good idea. A little bit of sugar is okay sometimes. For example, if you have fruit or milk, that would be healthy. But trying to avoid foods can make you feel sad and then want more sugar.
But most of us eat too much sugar. This can be bad for our health.
So how can you track your sugar intake? First, you will need to read the ingredients list of your packaged food. Anything with “-ose” on end is a type of sugar. For example, maltose and sucrose are both types of sugars.
Also, some foods sound healthy, but they are actually a type of sugar too. For example, if it is natural maple syrup, it is a type of sugar, raw honey or organic cane sugar or molasses, or fruit juice. You will always need to be smart about what you eat to know what you’re eating and get the right amount.
How to Fight Cravings
These tips can help you reduce your sugar intake. This process will be challenging, but it will get easier over time. It takes some time for your body to adjust to new habits, even when the habits are healthy ones.
Use Artificial Sweeteners Cautiously
Replacing sugar with low- or no-calorie sweeteners can help you cut calories. But it is not safe, and some people think that it might cause weight gain. It does this because people eat more when they eat something that tastes sweet but is not really sweet.
Complete Your Sleep
Getting enough sleep is important for good health. When you sleep, your body will feel energized and not hungry.
Eat More Fruit
When you cut back on sugar, you are likely to crave it more. Have easy-to-eat fruit in your house. (like berries, bananas, cut melon, or citrus fruit). This will give you a boost of sweetness and the added benefit of being good for you with fiber and vitamins.