How to Stop Sugar Cravings: 4 Healthy Alternatives
Sweet cravings are hard to kick – and while life is all about balance, it’s important to remember the harmful effects of too much sugar.
Sugar can alter biochemical pathways, severely affecting brain chemistry. A little treat here and there won’t hurt, but sugar addiction is a real thing.
The issue lies in when we find ourselves unable to ignore the cravings, constantly reaching for a sweet snack – especially during the 3 pm slump or post-dinner. Here are our top 4 tips on how to kick those sweet cravings for good:
1. Stay hydrated
It may sound simple, but when our bodies need water it can often be felt as hunger signals, especially for high water content foods to quench thirst. Thirst and hunger can often be misinterpreted. Next time those afternoon sweet cravings hit, try downing a glass of water first. Sometimes, our bodies need extra hydration, especially in the warmer months. Keep a bottle of water close to you at all times so it's easy for you to stay hydrated and try adding sliced fruit and fresh mint to spice it up.
2. Keep active
When you exercise, there’s an increase in blood flow that benefits your brain. This can be why you tend to feel more focused and energised post-workout. Many different neurotransmitters are also triggered, including endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. Some of these are most well known for their ‘feel good’ effect on the body and their role in mood control. Exercising regularly will ensure you are getting a good dose of those happy hormones, reducing the likeliness of reaching for sugar-heavy foods. As sugar cravings typically last for a few minutes, exercise is also a great way to distract yourself.
3. Get enough sleep
Sleep is one of the most overlooked and underrated factors when addressing sugar cravings, metabolism issues and weight control. Grelin is commonly known as the ‘hunger hormone’ and controls our cravings for carbohydrates and sugars. When we have poor quality or lack of sleep for an extended period, our body makes more ghrelin, which can lead to an increase in unwanted sugar cravings.
Leptin is a chemical that can influence how much we eat, it is produced by our fat cells and affects our satiety levels. Lack of sleep can cause our bodies to produce less Leptin, prompting us to want to eat more. Simply put, if we are sleep-deprived, our bodies will turn towards food (especially sugars) for an energy source. Making sure you get a quality, good night sleep could be what you need to get those cravings under control.
4. Choose your treats wisely
This can often be the most difficult part. You can have all your main meals perfectly planned out and balanced – full of healthy protein, fats and carbohydrates – only to find yourself snacking uncontrollably between meals and raiding the fridge at 10 pm for a sweet fix. You don’t have to completely restrict yourself, as this can often lead to binge eating or over-consuming calories. The trick is to find healthy substitutes that work for you and will satisfy your cravings.
Some of our favourite healthy treats include:
Dark chocolate is a healthier choice compared to milk or white chocolate. Make sure there’s a minimum of 70% Cocoa. The higher the percentage, the higher the antioxidants and benefits. However, just like regular chocolate, it still contains some sugar and fat – so portion control is still necessary.
Homemade protein balls
Protein balls are a great alternative to candy or chocolate bars. There are a lot of ready-to-go options available on the market, but home-made snacks can be cheaper and healthier as you have control over the ingredients. Dates are a tasty base for protein balls and they’re a great source of fibre, potassium and iron. Adding a high-quality protein powder and fat sources such as nuts or seeds will keep you satiated and fuller for longer. Check out our blog for recipe inspiration!
Fruit is a delicious natural choice for when sugar cravings hit. As well as the sweetness, you get a good dose of fibre and nutrients. Berries are especially great as they taste sweet but are also high in fibre and pack a good dose of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
A smoothie that combines a good source of protein, fruits and vegetables can help curb sugar cravings as well as boosting nutritional intake. Available in Vanilla, Chocolate Caramel and Triple Chocolate, Amazonia’s Raw Protein Slim & Tone range is the perfect addition to smoothies. The plant-based formula contains a combination of greens, superfoods and more than 74 trace minerals, which provide satiating nutrients, slow release of energy, and aid in supporting detoxification pathways in the body.
Still can’t quite kick the last of your sweet cravings? Raw Sugar Crave Release Spray is our secret weapon! With a potent herbal blend designed to target excessive bad bacteria within the digestive tract and help reduce sugar cravings, this convenient, on-the-go spray will help you say goodbye to sugar for good.