Anyone can have sugar cravings. Maybe you’ve had a stressful day and you need a mood boost, or there’s a special occasion. It could also be due to external factors like being at a work event where delicious food is served, or when your family is in town and grandma baked her secret cookie recipe.
Although the craving for sweet treats and comfort foods may seem psychological, our bodies are also biologically wired to desire sugar. Eating something sweet triggers the production of happy hormones called dopamine in our bodies.
Consuming sugar also stimulates the production of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that is responsible for feelings of well-being. Additionally, it triggers the release of endorphins, which have a calming effect on our body and mind.
Although eating sugar may give you an immediate rush of positive emotions, it is important to avoid overindulging on a regular basis. Excessive sugar intake can have detrimental effects on both oral and overall health, leading to issues such as tartar and plaque buildup, gum disease, tooth decay, diabetes, and heart disease.
Individual dietary requirements may differ, but typical health recommendations suggest a daily limit for added sugar intake, which is set at:
Reducing the consumption of sugary snacks and desserts can be challenging since tasty food is an enjoyable part of life. Nevertheless, there are several ways to satisfy your craving for sweets while maintaining a healthy diet. Experiment with the following ways to curb the urge to overindulge and find out what works best for you.
Being aware of the nutritional content of the food you consume can help you in stocking your pantry with healthier alternatives. Also, understanding the proper portion sizes can prevent unintentional sugar overconsumption.
Eat a nutritious, well-balanced breakfast. Consuming excessive amounts of added sugar during the early hours of the day may stimulate sugar cravings later on.
As an alternative to fruit candy, choose to eat fresh fruit, or instead of ice cream, consider making an all-natural fruit smoothie.
If you do not keep candy or ice cream stocked in your pantry, it becomes impossible to snack on them during work or after supper.
It is more challenging to resist sugar cravings on an empty stomach. To prevent cravings, consume nutritious meals and small, healthy snacks.
During challenging times, it is natural to turn to comfort food. However, instead of resorting to food, consider uplifting your mood by spending time with friends, going for a walk, or engaging in activities such as watching your favorite movie or reading a book.
Every person may have a different response to the tips above, as some may work for some people while others may not. By experimenting with different approaches to curbing your sugar cravings, you’ll know which ones work best for you so you’ll develop a healthier relationship with sugar.
“Why Food Is Comforting,” Very Well Fit, https://www.verywellfit.com/craving-clues-genders-role-in-food-cravings-3494729
“Your brain on sugar: What the science actually says,” The Conversation, https://theconversation.com/your-brain-on-sugar-what-the-science-actually-says-126581
“The sweet danger of sugar,” Harvard Medical School, https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/the-sweet-danger-of-sugar
“Added Sugar,” Harvard School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/added-sugar-in-the-diet/