How To Stop Sugar Cravings
I am frequently asked about how to stop sugar cravings and this is not as easy as it sounds. Sugar is addictive in much the same way as people get addicted to alcohol and nicotine. Many of us are partial to something sweet from time-to-time and may have the odd chocolate or biscuits after dinner. It is however very easy to get into the habit of eating too many sugar-laden foods which can have an impact on our health.
Why do we crave for sugar?
To some extent, we are both psychologically and biologically wired for sugar cravings. Our bodies run on sugar and so our brains have evolved to like sweet food. Consuming sugar activates a part of the brain’s reward system releasing feel good chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins. These feel-good chemicals leave us wanting far more sugar.
Causes for sugar cravings
Some studies indicate that stress is one of the factors for sugar cravings. Stress results in the production of stress hormones which can cause the pancreas to release more insulin. This extra insulin burns sugar for energy causing a depletion of sugar in the blood which results in the body wanting more sugar and hence sugar cravings.
When you don’t eat enough, your body craves fast fuel to catch up and so causes sugar cravings as sugar is a great source of rapid energy release, even if it is not a quality source of energy.
Bad habits are more common than one imagines. When someone eats a chocolate bar say at 3pm every day, they tend to eat a chocolate bar every day at 3pm and that is a bad habit. If, for example, they ate enough throughout the day, then it might be easier to break this habit.
Eating a heavy starchy meal like a pasta dish might leave you with a craving for dessert. Often the pasta dish is without sufficient fibre, protein and healthy fats and is like eating a bowl of sugar. Carbohydrates are readily converted into sugar by the enzyme alpha amylase so that pasta dish provides quick calories that don't keep you feeling full or satisfied.
If you eat highly processed foods or ready-made meals, the chances are that these have a higher salt content. Often, the saltier the food, the larger your sugar craving.
Is a vitamin deficiency responsible for sugar cravings?
If you lack certain vitamins involved in the production of energy, then the body can feel tired. This in turn may cause us to crave sweet foods, which can provide the energy boost required. The most important nutrients in energy production are magnesium, zinc and B vitamins.
How to stop your sugar cravings
As I mentioned earlier, craving for sugar is perfectly normal but a constant craving may lead to health problems such as weight gain, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes to name a few.
The most important step is to think as to why you’re craving for sugar. Is it because you are hungry, stressed or is there a hormonal connection? Once you find out what it is then you can address it by perhaps stress management, exercise, dietary changes, food swaps and so on.
In the interim, it might be prudent to consider taking a supplement that helps to maintain healthy sugar levels in the bloodstream. High sugar levels are often followed by a drastic drop of sugar in the bloodstream resulting in a craving for sugary foods. Taking a supplement that maintains healthy blood sugar levels ensures less cravings and equally important, lower sugar levels in the bloodstream are less liable to damage proteins in the skin such as the collagen network.
Berberine, often found as Berberine HCl, is a bioactive compound found in plants such as Barberry, Oregon grape and Goldenseal. This natural compound has been the subject of several studies outlining its potential to slightly lower glucose levels comparable to certain medications.
KetoLiving™ Sugar Control is a supplement containing Chromium*, Garcinia and Gymnema which all work in synergy to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. This Berberine supplement helps to curb sugar cravings whilst enhancing metabolic activity as well as helping to control healthy weight.
Gymnema sylvestre is a woody climber native to India and parts of Asia. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine and is termed 'gurmar' which means “sugar destroyer”. Studies indicate that Gymnema can help reduce sugar cravings by acting on the sugar receptors on the taste buds. It reduces the ability to taste sweet foods and therefore makes sweet foods less appealing.1,2
Gymnema may also enhance insulin production which may help to lower blood glucose levels.3 Metformin, the first and one of the most prescribed anti-diabetic drugs, was a herbal formulation derived from the Galega officinalis also known as goat’s rue.4
Garcinia cambogia is primarily marketed to lose weight. It contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA) which has been found to boost the fat burning potential but results vary widely.
With a combination of these two herbs and chromium, KetoLiving™ Sugar Control may not only help maintain healthy sugar levels but may also work to help control fats in the bloodstream and maintain a healthy weight, all of which can have a massive impact on our health.
- J Clin Biochem Nutr Gymnema sylvestre: a memoir - 2007 Sep;41(2):77-81. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.2007010.
- Effects of sweetness perception and caloric value of a preload on short term intake. Physiol Behav 1983 Jan;30(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(83)90030-6.
- J Sci Food Agric 2014 Mar 30;94(5):834-40. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6458. A systematic review of Gymnema sylvestre in obesity and diabetes management
- Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014: 830285.Phytochemical and Pharmacological Properties of Gymnema sylvestre: An Important Medicinal Plant
*Chromium contributes to the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels and normal macronutrient metabolism.
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