The average American consumes close to 82 grams of sugar per day, which far surpasses the recommended amount of around 30 grams. Most Americans are addicted to sugar. It is disconcerting that sugar is hidden in almost all food products on the mainstream market.
Through poor diets and lack of awareness as to hidden sugars, it is easy to become addicted to the sweet substance. Advertising for sugary snacks can make it difficult, too. But luckily, we’ve got you covered for when that sugar craving strikes.
Here are some ways to work through sugar cravings, and healthy ways to indulge:
Often, sugar cravings are displaced cravings. We gravitate to sugar as a quick fix for low blood sugar. Although it raises blood sugar quickly, the energy is short lived and often times accompanied with a crash. To remedy low blood sugar, consume more protein, which the body digests slowly and aids with blood sugar stability. Some plant-based foods that are high in protein include quinoa, chia seeds, navy beans or hemp seeds. Try and consume protein with every meal to avoid crashes between meals.
Sometimes, feelings of hunger are actually dehydration. Thus, a craving for sugar could imply one is in need of water. Try chugging a tall glass of water to remedy a sugar craving and ensure you are drinking enough water throughout the day to stop dehydration before it begins.
Sugar is a comfort food. Frequently, the craving is emotional. Often, sugar is a reward at the end of a tough day. Some ways to explore the emotional attachments to sugar are through the questions: what are other rewards? What are you really craving sweetness for? What is the underlying emotion that the instant gratification of sugar will mask?
Fruit Sugars (Nature’s Candy!): That Sugar Film defines the difference between naturally occurring sugars (fructose that occurs in fruit and vegetables) versus free sugar (sugars removed from their original source and added to foods as a sweetener or preservative) as the following:
Fructose in fruit is encased in fiber, which hugely affects its metabolism in our bodies. The fiber helps to slow down the absorption and so it doesn’t get fast, direct access to the liver like it does when it is ‘free’.
Refined sugar products interfere with the body’s ability to regulate. Weaning yourself off sugar by indulging in treats only sweetened through fruit sugar is a great way to start the process. Here are some of my favorite recipes that only use fruit as sweeteners.