Surveys indicate that 97 percent of women and 68 percent of men admit to having food cravings. These cravings often involve sugar. When the need to satisfy a sweet indulgence arises, we may feel that at that moment we are in a weakened state. We ignore the temptation, divert our attention elsewhere or indulge. Psychologically, cravings are foods that at some point in our lives we were taught are akin to forbidden fruits. Controlling sugar cravings are not successful when simply trying to trick the mind and body. However, there are a few useful tactics to try.
Increase Protein Intake
When we crave sugar, it is not because the body needs the substance. The message is being sent by the reward center of the brain. Eating something sweet provides a temporary sense of satisfaction that the brain remembers and transmits from time to time. Researchers from the University of Missouri found that eating protein inhibits these neuron-based messages. If suffering from a continual psychological need for something sweet, grab a protein snack instead. In time, the self-indulgent transmissions will surface less frequently.
Reaching for comfort foods is a common self-soothing but unhealthy technique used when dealing with stress. Whether the emotional or psychological event is a temporary or a long-term problem, find another way to overcome. Get seven to eight hours of sleep at night, which allows the brain to reorganize and the body to complete necessary repairs. Sleep also balances the hormone leptin, which is found in fat cells and plays a large part in regulating appetite and cravings. Start a routine of cardiovascular exercise and strength-training activities, which increase the production and release of the feel good chemical dopamine.
Consider devising a list of meals and necessary ingredients before going to the store. Resist the urge to deviate. Eliminating sugar cravings is as simple as not buying sugary foods. For a healthier diet, stay mainly in the outer perimeter of the grocery store. These areas feature fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, diary products and healthy whole grains. The inner aisles are typically filled with all of the high-fat, high-sugar, chemical-laden processed foods. Try to keep these options to a minimum. Also, avoid grocery shopping before eating. Impulse buying and poor food choices are most likely to occur when hungry.
You work hard, you play hard, do you not allow yourself some guilt-free moments of entertainment in front of the TV or on the computer? Treat indulgences in the same way. As long as you are consciously managing your diet, your health and have cravings under control, a serving of chocolate or other sweet from time to time is not a crime.