4 Practical Ways to Cut Sugar Cravings Naturally
At certain moments, even the healthiest eater may have an overwhelming desire for a particular food – usually something high in sugar, carbohydrates, salt and/or fat.
Many people experience food cravings; however, women appear to have them more often. A survey of 1,000 college students showed that nearly 100% of female participants and 70% of male participants reported experiencing food cravings over the past year.
The problem is that for many people it’s extremely difficult to resist cravings. And if you’re trying to clean up your diet, improve your health, and shed extra weight, succumbing to these cravings can sabotage your efforts and dash your hopes of ever making lasting health changes.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little knowledge and nutritional support, you can learn how to master your cravings.
Why Do I Crave Sweets?
It’s no secret that people love sweet-tasting foods, but our cravings for them can go beyond our tastebuds.
Researchers believe that humans may be genetically hardwired to prefer fat and sugar. That means that back in our hunter-gatherer days when food sources were uncertain, we became evolutionarily wired to prefer fatty and sweet tastes because they’re a very efficient source of energy. Consuming sweet and fatty foods meant greater chances for survival. Our evolutionary preferences have yet to catch up to the fact that sugary/fatty foods are everywhere and consuming an abundance of them is no longer necessary.
This powerful area of the brain provides the passion and motivation that drives your behavior. Like a pleasure button being hit over and over again, every bite of a sweet treat you eat activates this area. But if it gets overused, you need more and more of the substance to get the same effect.
Our emotions can get tied to sweet foods as well. The freshly baked cookies you made with your mother as a child holds a place in your brain deep within the limbic system. When you’re seeking nurturing, comfort, and belonging…these memories attached to certain foods can produce a craving.
Once you’re aware of what’s driving your food cravings, you can take the next steps to help you successfully overcome them and maintain a healthy diet. Here are 4 ways to master your cravings.
How to Cut Sugar Cravings Naturally
- Balanced Blood Sugar
Keeping your blood sugar balanced is one of the best things you can do for overcoming cravings. That’s because healthy blood sugar is tied to healthy blood flow. When it comes to controlling cravings, it’s vitally important to have a healthy supply of blood circulating through your brain’s prefrontal cortex (PFC).
Your PFC plays a critical role in your self-control, impulse control, and judgment. The PFC essentially acts as the brain’s “brake” on behavior that might harm you. When it’s working optimally, it reminds you that eating cookies isn’t in your best interest and may even harm you.
You can keep blood sugar balanced by eating frequent meals (5-6) throughout the day, and by including lean protein and healthy fat in them. Be sure to eat protein for breakfast (even if you don’t feel like it) as it will set you up for stable blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Stay away from high sugar/high-fat foods, as well as refined carbs and processed foods, white bread, and white rice. They can spike blood sugar levels and reduce blood flow to your brain. They also activate the addictive/pleasure centers of the brain ensuring more food cravings.
- Combat Stress
Stress drives food cravings. Do everything you can to keep stress levels down with relaxation. Some of the best ways to do this is by getting regular exercise, practicing yoga or meditation, not rushing, practicing deep breathing, and engaging in hobbies and pursuits you enjoy.
- Restful Sleep
Make sure you get 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night. Poor sleep and sleep deprivation affect the levels of hunger and appetite hormones, which can create food cravings.
Also, fewer than 6 hours of sleep is associated with a dramatic reduction of blood flow to the brain. Poor blood flow leads to poor decision-making and judgment, making cravings hard to resist.
- Take Targeted Supplements
Nutritional supplements can go a long way toward keeping cravings in check – especially if they’re formulated to manage the mechanisms that drive food cravings. At BrainMD, we’re proud to recommend…
Craving Control contains chromium and alpha-lipoic acid, two important nutrients for healthy blood sugar metabolism and utilization. Balanced blood sugar is necessary for healthy blood flow and optimal brain function. Healthy brain function will help give you the resolve to resist food cravings.
As stress is a risk factor for food cravings, Craving Control includes l-glutamine, an amino acid that can become depleted during times of prolonged stress or intense exercise. L-glutamine is thought to help support healthy blood sugar levels as well.
The formula also includes n-acetylcysteine (NAC), which is a powerful antioxidant and vasodilator, which means that it helps to relax your blood vessels. Relaxed blood vessels deliver more blood flow to the brain, helping it to work optimally.
The addition of dl-phenylalanine helps promote alertness, mood, and appetite control as it plays a role in the synthesis of three key brain neurotransmitters: dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.
Master Your Cravings
These basic steps can help you get a better grip on your food cravings. If you’re new to a healthier eating plan, know that it gets easier over time. Sugar cravings should gradually reduce within the first couple weeks of coming off sweets.
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about Craving Control or our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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