A craving is not the same as hunger. A craving is driven by your brain’s need for reward as opposed to your body’s need of food. And sugar cravings are one of the most common food cravings, not to mention one of the main reasons we find it so hard to stick to a healthy diet. Had enough of being a slave to the sweet stuff? Read on to find out how to reduce sugar cravings for good.
It’s good to be complex
Carbohydrates form the bulk of our diet and range from simple sugars such as white sugar, through to complex and slow to digest carbohydrates like grains and fresh ‘green’ foods. These foods have a much kinder, slow release effect on the body. They contain sugars but the sugars are locked up in the complex nature of their structure. The sugar is there but it takes longer for the body to access it and your blood glucose reflects this by not displaying the ups and downs we get with simple sugars and refined foods.
Foods that help to balance blood sugar
Consider increasing the following foods in your diet: brown rice, beans, oatmeal, oat cakes, green peas, broccoli and cooked spinach. To help balance the carbohydrates in your diet eating adequate protein is vital. Good protein sources include white meats, eggs, nuts and beans. You should aim to eat some carbohydrate and protein every six hours and not snack between meals.
Combat sugar cravings with chromium
Chromium is a trace mineral that is needed for the metabolism of lipids and carbohydrates and this is believed to be because of its effect on insulin. When you eat something sweet your blood sugar levels rise quickly, triggering a release of insulin to help bring them back to normal. If your body is releasing insulin on a regular basis, you may become insulin-resistant, which can lead to diabetes.
How does chromium help? Chromium is believed to enhance the action of insulin and reduce insulin resistance. One study found that taking a chromium picolinate supplement managed to improve blood glucose control, with researchers stating that chromium could help to reduce cardiovascular disease and diabetes .
Chromium is also an active ingredient in Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF) , a dietary component that increases the action of insulin.
Healthy alternatives to sugar
There are also many ways to sweeten food without adding sugar.
Here are three sugar substitutes guaranteed to tickle your tastebuds:
1. Biona Coconut Palm Sugar , £2.99 for 250g
A low GI alternative to cane sugar with trace levels of phytonutrients, zinc and iron. It also contains inulin to help support friendly gut bacteria. Use as you would cane sugar in sweet recipes for cakes and biscuits.
2. Total Sweet Xylitol Sweetener , £2.99 for 225g
A 100% natural alternative to sugar made from xylitol. Use in hot drinks, baking and over fruit or cereal.
3. Pure Gold Manuka Honey 300+ MGO , £22.99 for 250g
A delicious alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners. Use in foods and drinks to sweeten or enjoy straight off the spoon as a healthy diet supplement.