Many people believe that the cause of skyrocketing obesity rates is the habit of overconsumption of foods high in sugar. Indeed, it is not a new issue. In fact, many individuals claim that they have an uncontrollable desire to eat sugary snacks and food. Some blame it on a personality being a sweet tooth while others do not have an idea as to why they yearn for consuming foods with high-sugar content.
If you are one of those who question “Why am I craving sugar all of a sudden?” or just want to know what are better alternatives to satisfy your sugar cravings, you are in the right place. Here, we will discuss the main reasons why we, as humans, are not immune to sugar cravings, how to possibly slow it down or stop it; and take a look at other options to satisfy our sweet tooth.
What are the Medical Reasons for Sugar Cravings
Sugar cravings do not automatically mean that you have a sweet tooth. Like being thirsty, desiring to eat for more sugary-foods can be a result of an underlying physiologic response. These are the most common causes of sugar cravings.
You may be dehydrated
Dehydration is the most common reason for sugar cravings. A lack of water or any liquid intake makes it difficult for the body to metabolize sugar molecules called glucose. When glucose levels are low, the body sends a signal to the brain. This signal says that the body does not have enough amount of glucose for consumption. In response, the brain sends a message to various body parts in an attempt to balance the fluid and electrolytes in the body. One of the effects is sugar cravings.
You do not have enough sugar in your body
Like vitamins and minerals, our sugar levels in the body need to be at appropriate levels. Too much sugar may have negative effects, but a low level or lack of it is not good at all as well. Why? Because sugars are carbohydrates, they break down and serve as energy like a fuel, which the body uses to function well. So, in short, a low fuel source (sugar) or the lack thereof will initiate a response like cravings.
The levels of your hormones may be different
Another reason for sugar cravings is hormonal imbalance. And, the hormone that we are talking about here is the happy hormone called dopamine.
Dopamine is one of the essential hormones in the body because it has many functions. Our body releases dopamine when we eat foods high in sugar. After a sugary food is consumed, dopamine is released, and the brain feels satisfied. Sugar cravings are one way of how the brain tries to get that satisfaction. In fact, this is the reason why suitors use chocolates (because they are high in sugar) to court someone they like — to increase the dopamine level and create a euphoric feeling.
How to Stop Sugar Cravings?
Now that you know the reason behind sugar cravings, the next question that you probably have in your mind right now is “How to stop sugar cravings instantly?”. Like we mentioned before, sugar is not necessarily bad for the health, but too much is not good at all. Besides increasing the risk of obesity, sugar can cause plaque build-up in the arteries, which may cause atherosclerosis or blockage in the blood vessels.
Although you can never stop sugar cravings instantly, there are many healthy solutions to satisfy your need to eat sugar. One way is to eat healthier foods that curb sugar cravings.
Better Alternatives to Stop Your Sugar Cravings
Statistics show that on average, Canadians consume 21% sugar out of their total daily calories. Sugar from natural sources such as vegetables and fruit account to 31% of this daily caloric consumption. On the other hand, 35% comes from artificial and “other” sources of sugar.
These artificial sources may be the reason for the adverse health effects of sugar in the body, which includes (but not limited to) obesity, hyperactivity, tooth decay, peripheral vascular diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and so on.
To prevent possible serious health conditions and at the same time, satisfy your sugar cravings, we have listed better alternatives to curb your sugar cravings.
Yes, water made the list. As you know, one of the reasons why you long to down in a couple of sugary snacks is dehydration. And, the solution is straightforward — drink plenty of water.
Berries contain sugar molecules calledFructose makes berries sweet and they do not have the same effects as artificial sugars. Berries are also high in fibers which can help improve overall health. In fact, the fiber in fruits helps the body slow down the absorption of fructose.Berries contain sugar molecules called . Fructose makes berries sweet, and they do not have the same effects as artificial sugars. Berries are also high in fibers which can help improve overall health. In fact, the fiber in helps the body slow down the absorption of fructose.
Dates are very sweet dried fruits and are also highly nutritious. Consuming a few dates can give you an immediate sweet fix instead of gulping a can of soda. Besides, dates are a great source of fiber, iron, potassium, and other vitamins.
Sweet potatoes are very filling, nutritious, and of course, sweet. They contain carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, as well as potassium. Eating sweet potatoes can combat sugar cravings especially when the cause is low sugar levels in the body.
We all know that eggs are rich in protein. High-protein foods can help keep your cravings in check and reduce hunger because they suppress hormones that may induce hunger or cravings.
Vegetables won’t immediately stop your desire to eat sugar-rich foods, but if integrated into a regular diet, vegetables can really help. Aside from the fact that it can bulk up your meals, vegetables are a good source of fiber. They also have a low caloric content, so it won’t make you fat. Having vegetables in daily meals can also lower the risk for certain diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, and other health conditions.
Beans are good sources of protein as well as fiber. Both these nutrients contribute to reducing sugar cravings secondary to hunger. They are also cholesterol-free, low in fat, and contains magnesium, potassium, iron, and folic acid.
Yogurt is a type of a healthy snack that can help you with your sugar cravings. It is also high in calcium and protein. Research says that yogurt improves satiety and appetite control.
Control your Sugar Addiction
Now that you know the meaning of your sugar cravings don’t feel guilty if you can’t stop yourself from occasional eating some sugary treats. However, if your longing to eat foods high in sugar is out of control, you should try to check alternative solutions to avoid extremely high sugar levels in your body. You can also choose to eat better options such as the food alternatives we discussed instead of sugar-filled candies or snacks.
About the Author:
Mike Zhang is the founder of the MZF Group. He was a 2 time National Muay Thai Champion and a strength and conditioning coach to several professional athletes. He has over 14 years of experience as a Muay Thai Coach. He graduated from the University of Toronto on the deans list with a Masters Degree in science.