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Steps To Help Stop Sugar Cravings

Last updated Jan. 4, 2017

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD MPH

Sugar provides the human body with a huge amount of carbohydrates that are rapidly absorbable in nature, leading to weight gain, excessive energy intake, and metabolic syndrome. Choosing the right foods is considered as one of the most appropriate ways of kicking the sugar habit.


Sugar provides the human body with a huge amount of carbohydrates that are rapidly absorbable in nature, leading to weight gain, excessive energy intake, and metabolic syndrome. Sugar and other caloric sweeteners, like high fructose corn syrup, have been considered as one of the most important factors behind the obesity epidemic. But, how do we curb the craving for sugar and harmful sweeteners that seemingly drive us mad?

Choosing the right foods is considered as one of the most appropriate ways of kicking the sugar habit. You can add tomatoes to your diet, as tomatoes, along with romaine lettuce and onions, top the list of the foods rich in chromium (a blood sugar stabilizer). Apart from that, it is also a great source of serotonin. Research points out that a dip in serotonin levels can cause an individual to crave sugar. Cinnamon is a spice that can also be added because it can help keep any sugar cravings at bay. A mere half a teaspoon of cinnamon every day is quite effective at normalizing blood sugar levels and bring down food cravings.

Fish can also be added to one`s diet to avoid sugar cravings. It works as an anti-craving agent in two ways. Initially, it makes the body more sensitive to a hormone known as leptin. Leptin has been shown to support the development of gray matter in the part of brain that controls food cravings. Also, fish is an amazing source of glutamine, an amino acid that energizes the brain and helps in building and maintaining muscle mass. Eating apples are another way of containing sugar cravings. It contains pectin, a kind of dietary fiber that makes one feel fuller for a longer period of time.

Artificial sweeteners have been intuitively used by people across the world to maintain or lose weight. However, studies have presented something to the contrary. An American Cancer Society study in the early 1980s that included 78,694 women who were highly homogenous with regard to socioeconomic status, age, ethnicity, and lack of any preexisting conditions, showed after a year`s follow-up that about 2.7-7.1% regular artificial sweetener users gained weight compared to non-users, when matched by their initial weight.

Other research has generally discovered that sweet taste, whether created by sugar or artificial sweeteners, increased human appetite. A study in 1993 showed that Aspartame-sweetened water enhanced subjective appetite rating in males with normal weight.

Stress, exhaustion and sleep deprivation sparks irrational cravings in our brain. This makes us crave highly palatable, sugary foods. As per the study conducted by the researchers at the UC Berkeley, participants, after being deprived of sleep, displayed greater craving for junk food and other food with higher calories. The more sleep-deprived a participant was, the greater his or her sugar craving. Proper sleep and mental peace is extremely important if you want to curb those cravings and avoid sugar addiction. 

So the bottom line requirement is to eat whole food that will curb sugar cravings, supplement your diet with chromium, glutamine, and other such components, and avoid artificial sweeteners. 

References:

Popkin BM, Nielsen SJ. The sweetening of the world`s diet. Obes Res; 11: 1335-1332. 

Schulze MB, Manson JE, Ludwig DS, Colditz GA, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC. et al. Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women. JAMA. 2004;292:927–934. 

Saris WHM. Sugars, energy metabolism, and body weight control. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78:850S–857S. 

Black RM, Leiter LA, Anderson GH. Consuming aspartame with and without taste: differential effects on appetite and food intake of young adult males. Physiol Behav. 1993;53:459–466. 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892765 (accessed on 29.1.2015)

http://www.healwithfood.org/sugarcravings/foods.php (accessed on 29.1.2015)

http://thehealthsciencesacademy.org/health-tips/break-the-sugar-habit (accessed on 29.1.2015)

https://www.drsearswellnessinstitute.org/blog/2013/04/stop-sugar-cravings (accessed on 29.1.2015)

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

DesMaisons, K. (1999). Potatoes Not Prozac: A Natural Seven-step Dietary Plan to Control Your Cravings and Lose Weight, Recognize how Foods Affect the Way You Feel, and Stabilize the Level of Sugar in Your Blood. Simon and Schuster.

Pitman, K. R. (2013). Sugar Addiction Escape Plan: 10 steps to control sugar cravings.

Taraday, J. 7 Tips for Busting Sugar Cravings During the Holidays.

Virgin, J. J. Ditch Sugar Cravings with These 5 Strategies.

Bruschetta, R. W., Mix, T., & Dip, H. Y. 10 Ways to Curb Sugar Cravings.

Watt, J. Are You A Sugar Addict? Steps Towards Understanding And Overcoming Sugar Addictions.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Jan. 4, 2017
Last updated: Jan. 4, 2017