The more I read and study, the more it is becoming increasingly clear to me that sugar is a BIG health problem. Sugar seems to be in EVERYTHING these days- even food products that you wouldn’t suspect like tortillas, tomato sauce, peanut butter, mayonnaise, bacon, chicken broth, crackers, cold cuts, and sausages… Basically, anytime you buy a packaged product from a grocery store, you may be encountering hidden sugars. Oh, and let’s not forget about alcohol. Yes, wine, beer and hard alcohols all metabolize as sugar in the body. Consuming hidden sugar is a problem not just because sugar adds unnecessary calories, but because it creates INFLAMMATION in the body which can cause and/or contribute to seemingly unrelated symptoms and conditions such as but not limited to: chronic pain and joint achiness, low energy, chronic sinus problems, PMS, endometriosis, fatty liver disease, and seasonal allergies, as well as obviously linked conditions such as obesity, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.
I can’t tell you the number of people I encounter who, upon finding out what I do, start telling me immediately about how they know they need to cut back on sugar, but they just LOVE sweets, and they have such strong sugar cravings. I feel your pain. I know that once on the sugar wagon it is VERY challenging to jump off. Those sweets just keep calling you back to them!
Because I know first hand how hard it is to break the sweets cycle, I wanted to share with you my top tips for curbing the sweet cravings, and dramatically decreasing sugar intake.
- When you have a sugar craving, opt for something with protein and fat in it. I like nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or have an apple with almond butter or almonds.
- Treat yourself to something naturally sweet. When you are in the mood for a sweet treat, try having roasted vegetables, a sweet potato, or some winter squash- check out my recipe for butternut squash below.
- Try coconut oil. More and more studies are showing the benefits of coconut oil in helping curb sugar cravings and balancing blood-sugar levels. Aim for 2-5 tablespoons/day. I add in a tablespoon or two into my morning smoothie, cook with it, and eat it on top of treats such as baked sweet potato or squash. And I also recommend that some of my patients who have trouble regulating their blood sugar levels overnight take some right before bed.
- Drink water. Too often we may think we are hungry or have a sweet craving, but it is actually our body crying out for water. I suggest to my patients that they drink a glass of water before going for a sweet treat or a soda. That has helped so many of them to kick their cravings!
- Quit the diet sodas and artificial sweeteners. Oh how I loathe the soda and artificial sweetener industry! Avoiding sugar by using these only makes your sweet cravings worse. And now research is showing that consuming artificial sweeteners actually alters your gut bacteria! That means that the balance between the naturally occurring “good” and “bad” bacteria in your intestines becomes altered and creates an unhealthy environment… Yikes!
- Read the ingredients lists in the food products you buy to find hidden sugars. Avoid foods that have added sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners. Once you start reading the labels you will be shocked out how much sugar is in these foods.
Even if you just try one of these suggestions, you should notice a change in your cravings. Try three of the suggestions, and you will definitely notice a change, and try all six, and you will be well on your way to beating those sugar cravings for good!
And remember, I am always here for you if you would like more support. You can schedule your free 30-minute strategy session with me by clicking on the button below.