Our bodies are more dependent on sugar than we think. Added sugars can be found in a variety of foods today. They can even be disguised under names like agave nectar, evaporated cane or turbinado. Sugar addiction has often been likened to drug addiction and essentially, they’re similar in the sense that building a dependence can be detrimental. Like drugs, sugar can spike the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which can bring about feelings of pleasure. The more sugar we take, the higher our tolerance becomes, and the more sugar we crave.
When cutting down or even completely cutting off your body from sugar, there are ways you can fight the cravings. This includes eating the right foods to fend off the hormonal changes throughout your body and ease those alarming mood swings.
Fats, the healthy kinds, are your best bet to keep your taste-buds satisfied and stomach satiated when craving sugar. Nuts in particular have beneficial minerals and vitamins that can keep your blood sugar levels and blood pressure steady. Almonds and Brazil nuts are mildly sweet if you’re looking for that flavour.
If your taste-buds insist on getting that sweetness, shock them instead with flavoursome spices. If a recipe calls for sugar, switch it up with unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon or vanilla extract. When eating savoury dishes, throw in some extra garlic and onions or a dash of lime juice.
Pick up dark chocolate instead of your usual milk chocolate bar, which typically contains excessive amounts of sugar and fat. Make sure to choose the variety that has more than 70 percent cocoa. Cocoa is rich in polyphenols, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
If you love snacking on yoghurt, kimchi, kombucha, pickles and sauerkraut, then keep eating them. Fermented foods are rich in beneficial bacteria, which can keep your gut clean and fight off diseases. A healthy gut can influence your cravings and appetite.
A sweet treat you can opt for are dates or the dried fruit of the date palm tree. They’re terrific sources of fibre, potassium and iron. Dates are also another good example of healthy, plant-based fats that can keep your cravings at bay. It’s a great substitute for sweetness and can even be added to a smoothie.
Still craving a hint of sweetness in your meals? Sweet potatoes could be the answer. This healthy food is sweet and nutritious. It contains fibre as well as vitamin A and C and potassium.
High-protein foods can also aid in regulating your appetite and cravings. This is due to the fact that a high-protein meal taken at the start of the day can suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin while increasing the hormones that make you feel full. Eggs are a good example of that. Incorporate them into your breakfast to keep you feeling full for a longer period of time.
Fruits are great sources of healthy, natural sugars and packing it into a smoothie with other healthy ingredients make for a great snack. It can even be a great substitute for dessert. Adding in yoghurt also makes you feel fuller for longer, which can fight off those cravings. Just be sure to use fresh whole fruits to get the healthy fibre and not fruit juice, which usually contains sugars.