“The risk of cardiovascular disease death increases exponentially as you increase your consumption of added sugar,” says the study’s lead author, Quanhe Yang, a senior scientist with the CDC.
It is no secret that excess sugar contributes to several health complications including weight gain. Sugar is also highly addictive, which makes it even more challenging to avoid. As a health and fitness professional I fully understand the detrimental effects sugar can have, yet even I struggle to stay away!
So what are some things we can do to curb those cravings successfully?
1. Get More Sleep!
Ever notice that your cravings for sugar increase when you don’t get sufficient rest? Your body is looking for something to boost your energy levels. Often times we turn to sugar because it does spike energy for time, but that energy is not sustainable, so we find ourselves having to consume more and more! Make necessary changes in your sleep schedule, and your ability to resist sugar cravings will increase.
2. Out of Sight, Out of Mind.
If it’s not in your kitchen, you can’t eat it. Not only should you stock your kitchen with healthy, nutritious foods, but you should also strive to clear it of highly-processed sugary snacks. There is something called the Elaborated Intrusion Theory (ETI). This theory suggests that cravings are often triggered by a thought or other cue – such as when you think about or see your favorite sugary treat. Should you feel a craving for a particular treat, you would have to go out, purchase it, return home, and consume it. Removing those foods from the house will more than likely limit this behavior.This is an especially good tip for people who struggle with late night binge-eating episodes. It would be a lot more difficult to eat a whole bag of cookies at 3 am if you don’t have them!
3. Don’t Lie to Yourself
We often try to ignore sugar cravings, but keeping those cravings under control is not about lying to ourselves. Cutting out all of the unhealthy foods that we love at one time can be a recipe for disaster! Be honest with yourself, cut back on the sugar instead of cutting it out. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and protein at every meal, giving you room to have a small portion of your favorite sweets to satisfy your cravings.
4. Always Have Healthy Snacks With You
One of the reasons we don’t consume healthier snacks is because we don’t have them readily available. Keeping healthy snacks with you at all times reduces your hunger which also reduces your cravings.
The body can sometimes confuse cravings with dehydration, so yes, you may actually just be thirsty!
The strategies above may help to reduce cravings for sugar and even carbs. While I am not a Dietician, I’ve done extensive research and put these suggestions into practice.
As I stated before, I myself struggle with these cravings, so I know the struggle is real! The best results always come with consistency, and healthy changes that are sustainable for the long haul!