Why Do You Crave Sugar?
Let’s face it. There’s something deep inside all of us that we can’t combat. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got five percent body fat or 35 percent body fat. It doesn’t matter if you bench 40 pounds or 400 pounds. Run a mile in five minutes or 25 minutes. We all want sugar—we all crave sugar.
There’s something about a delicious, chocolatey, chewy, sweet, sour or crunchy treat that brings out the child in all of us. And as the years pass by, the urge seems to increase while our bodies ability to process it all seems to decrease. And the older one gets, the more important it is to recognize what causes those cravings and, more importantly, how to combat them.
They say the first step to fixing a problem is admitting there is a problem, and you can’t admit there is a problem unless you are sure that you fit the mold. If you aren’t sure if you’re addicted to sugar or not, possible clues that you are include hiding a secret sugar stash in your house or always rewarding yourself with a trip to the donut shop.
Causes for Sugar Cravings
As is the case with any craving, understanding why you have that craving is essential to fighting it. And for humans, the craving for sugar runs deep and far back—think primitive times with your earliest ancestors who relied on sugar to get them through a very significant time of starvation 15 million years ago during a time of global cooling. Sugar has always been a way to increase fat storage and a way to stimulate that all-encompassing feel good chemical of dopamine.
The taste of sugar and sweet things is the first taste we get and prefer as humans from day one. And today it’s estimated that the average intake for sugar in the United States is 22 teaspoons per person per day—an amount the World Health Organization calls four times too much. But what can we do to combat it? It’s in our genes!
Ways to Combat Your Cravings
Well, for starters, give in a little bit to the craving. Yes, you read that right. You crave sugar. Eat some sugar—but not too much! Of course, if you’re feeling strong-willed, going cold turkey is always an option, and once you make it through the first few days, it should be fairly smooth sailing from there.
Cravings can be combatted in other various ways.
Grab a piece of gum. Chewing gum helps reduce food cravings. A study showed that men and women who chewed sugar-free gum during the afternoon experienced less cravings for snacks, especially sweet snacks, and their consumption of sweet snack intake was lowered by 60 calories.
Reach for some fruit when a sugar craving hits. Whether you’re at home, at work or on a road trip, keep fruit handy. You still get that sweet taste when you bite into an apple or orange, plus some fiber and other good nutrients, but you don’t get all the sugar you would with a candy bar or donut.
Add a different kind of sweetness to your life. Natural sweeteners are fantastic because they satisfy the craving while keeping out the calories. This option tastes like sugar but is a better sweet substitute for your sugar cravings since it has zero impact on your blood sugar or insulin levels.
Get up and go somewhere. The best way to get your mind off a craving is to change your scenery. If you’re at work, go walk outside around your building. If you’re at home, go walk around the neighborhood or fold a load of laundry.
Be happy! Food directly affects our neurotransmitters that make us “feel good”, specifically serotonin. When we lack positive energy and happiness we desperately need, it’s no wonder we try and fill that food with sugary foods. But there are so many other things we can do besides eat to boost our serotonin and beta-endorphin levels, like exercising every morning, maintaining positive relationships and going outside to soak up some Vitamin D. Do things that make you happy!
Sugar is a way of life. It’s at our parties, our celebrations. In some ways, it’s where we turn when we are saddened or downtrodden. We associate it with some of our best memories. Many people are emotionally attached to their sugar intake. With a little planning and understanding, you can manage those cravings and essentially enjoy the best of both worlds.
Whatever option you choose to combat your sugar cravings, rest assured that a proper understanding of the moments that cause the cravings and a proper way of combating and dealing with the cravings is the best way to avoid falling into a pitfall of sugar intake.