If you have a serious sweet tooth, you’re not alone. In fact, Americans’ love of sugar has resulted in some concerning dietary habits. Harvard Medical School even put out an article about the hidden dangers lurking in sugar, including a higher risk of dying from heart disease. But the specifics of how sugar affects your body and your overall health are still hotly debated within the scientific community. Many researchers argue that sugar is addictive – even more addictive than cocaine or alcohol. That might explain why many people struggle to figure out how to control sugar cravings. But what is clear is that diets high in processed sugar can be linked to some serious health issues including high blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. Use the tips below to learn how to control sugar cravings.
How to Control Sugar Cravings
Eating three meals plus small, nutritious snacks throughout the day can help curb cravings. That’s because you’re more likely to crave sugary snacks when your blood sugar suddenly drops. In order to control your blood sugar, plan healthful snacks during the day like chopped carrots and hummus, a fresh tomato salad, or even a serving of almonds.
Eat a High-Protein Breakfast
If you’re struggling with how to control sugar cravings, start by changing your breakfast. The traditional American breakfast is usually saturated with carbs and sugars. Pancakes, English muffins, and bowls of cereal might be quick and easy, but the simple carbohydrates will break down quickly in your body and leave you hungry in the not-too-distant future.
For a more healthful start to your day that will fill you up for longer and help control your sugar cravings, add in more protein. Breakfast smoothies with peanut butter or protein powder are an easy option, but so are hard-boiled eggs, whole wheat toast with peanut butter, or a layered breakfast bowl with quinoa, milk, and raisins.
The Livestrong Foundation wrote about ways to control your hunger, and one easy trick is to rethink what you eat. Sugar has a way of hiding in plain sight. Just check the labels of whatever is stored in your fridge and pantry. Chances are, most items are packed with added sugars like high fructose corn syrup. Salad dressing, ketchup, almond milk, peanut butter, jellies, and even breads can be full of added sugar. So next time you’re at the grocery store, look for items that are low in sugar and don’t include high fructose corn syrup.
Change Your Diet
It’s very likely that your sugar cravings are a result of your diet. Diets high in carbohydrates will leave you feeling hungry and reaching for a sugary quick fix to fill you up. Instead, swap in high-fiber foods like vegetables, nuts, fresh fruits, lentils, and even whole grains. These low-glycemic foods are high in fiber and will take longer for your body to digest, which keeps you feeling full for longer. A high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has even been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers according to Harvard Medical School.
Season With Other Natural Sweeteners
Did you know most of our daily intake of sugar comes from our beverages? Just think about how much sugar you add to each cup of coffee or to a glass of iced tea. But you can easily reduce all that unnecessary sugar. Try swapping in more natural sweeteners like agave nectar, honey, date syrup, or pure maple syrup. Remember to take note of the serving size. Natural sugars might be lower on the glycemic index than processed white sugar, but you can still easily overdo it.
Detox Your Kitchen
This is a no brainer! If you don’t have sugary snacks readily available, you are much more likely to reach for a more healthy alternative. Ditch the sugary, processed snacks and stock your fridge and pantry with more filling options like plain popcorn, natural peanut butter, hummus, carrots, celery, raisins, and nuts.
Ditch Artificial Sweeteners
According to the Cleveland Clinic, sugar and artificial sweeteners stimulate your appetite, which can lead to weight gain. They also put you at risk for developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a fatty liver. Need more reasons to drop that Splenda packet? Researchers have linked artificial sweeteners like aspartame to some cancers, according to the clinic. If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, check with your doctor about which sweeteners are best for you.
If you’re hoping to improve your health in your senior years and you’re also seeking a retirement community, contact Hearthside Senior Living. It’s our goal to make it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle, with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and special attention to residents’ health and wellness. To learn more about our amenities and services, please give us a call at 901-854-6590 or contact us online.