You’ve probably heard that sugar is bad for your health, but do you really know just how far the negatives go? The effects of satisfying your sweet tooth every time focus, mood, or energy take a nosedive don’t stop at skin level: weight gain is the visible manifestation of your lack of dietary discipline, but the real problem with excess sugar intake is hidden far down below deck.
Sweet foods trigger dopamine spikes and boost your mood, but unless you burn the calories you’ve consumed to brighten up the day, your body will store them as fat. In addition to that, if you have a habit of reaching for the cookie jar too often, your brain will become desensitised to sugar and your cravings will go up in both quantity and frequency, eventually resulting in sugar addiction which is as tough to shake as habitual cocaine or alcohol abuse. But how do you rewire your brain and shun sugar cravings? It’s easier than it sounds, actually: you just need to make a few lifestyle adjustments, and your diet will be right back on the healthy, sugar- and fat-free track.
More Alkaline, Less Acidic
Heavily processed foods upset the body’s natural biochemical balance, tipping the pH scale from alkaline to acidic. In the acidic state, sugar cravings occur more often and their intensity will be greater. This is why you should try to preserve the balanced state with the help of plant-based foods such as leafy greens, broccoli, lemon, garlic, avocado, and herbs. For a nice dietary bonus, the alkaline diet is filing, which means that a healthy plant-based meal will keep hunger at bay for a few hours longer.
Ditch Dairy from Your Diet
Regular intake of dairy products has been linked to increased release of hunger hormone known as ghrelin, which is one of the culprits behind frequent cravings for sweet foods and consequent weight gain. By ditching milk, cheese, and yogurt from your menu, you’ll be preventing sugar cravings, GI tract inflammations, and digestive problems all at one blow. You can look for your daily calcium doses in foods such as tofu, soy milk, broccoli, oranges, dried figs, dates, and tahini instead of dairy – you’ll be doing your belly and brain a massive favor.
Count Your Zzz’s Every Night
Did you know that your sleeping problems have a hand in your weight? Well, now you do: sleep allows brain cells to recover from a long day of hard work, and failure to count your nightly Zzzs will increase intensity and frequency of sugar cravings as energy and focus drop due to fatigue. Instead of stocking on snacks, try to be active regardless of the season and you can hope to get a good night’s sleep the next time you hit the pillow: it’s healthier, more efficient, and it saves you cash too.
A Bellyful of Healthy Foods
Sugar cravings are often mistaken for hunger, which is why filling foods are your ally on the quest to sugar-free dietary agenda. To prevent concentration dips that can cause sugar cravings, stock your plate with foods rich in proteins, healthy fats, and fiber, and don’t forget about macros either. Lean meat, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains should be a regular on your menu and your meals should be evenly distributed throughout the day to keep your belly full and sugar cravings at bay.
Stress Less to Go Sugar-Less
When stress hits the fan, most people’s first reaction is to reach for comfort food and shovel it down their throat. Stress triggers increased production of cortisol, a stress hormone that signals your brain that it needs to find food and replenish energy. The biochemical reaction to stress is written in our genes and can’t be re-wired, but your response to stress can. Instead of grabbing Oreos, put on your sneakers and head out for a run. You can also use a body measurement app to monitor the effects of your healthy stress relief routine: it will help you stay away from the cookie jar and provide workout motivation come rain or shine.
Out of Sight, Out of System
Last but not the least, sugar cravings can be a result of too rigorous a weight loss diet. Forbidden food tastes sweetest, especially if it’s built from sugar cubes, so try to control your eating rather than impose unbending bans that will provide a fertile psychological ground for temptation and cravings. Also, clean the pantry and fridge of sugar-rich foods and start buying sugar-free snacks instead: that way, you’ll be preventing your inner sugar addict from indulging in late-night fridge raids centered on staples high in the sweetest shade of white.
Sugar cravings are tough to shake, but it has to be done if you’re to spring-clean your plate and move your eating habits to the healthy and fat-free lane. Sweet as it may be, sugar is the flipside of lasting health and sexy figure, so don’t let your eating habits run your life: change them and you’ll soon begin to notice the positive effects of a sugarless lifestyle on your mood, body, and daily energy levels. The wide-reaching gains are far sweeter than sugar, wouldn’t you agree?
About the Author
Nicole is a travel addict and a passionate writer. She always seeks new adventures and she loves to share her experiences. She’s an architecture and interior design enthusiast. In her spare time, she loves to design furniture, clothes and jewellery. Also, she loves preparing and eating delicious food with her friends.