7 Healthy Hacks to Beat Sugar Cravings
By JJ Virgin
As a holistic nutritionist with cravings just like everyone else, I’ve developed an arsenal of tactics to conquer them. Controlling stress levels, getting seven to nine hours of quality uninterrupted sleep, burst training or even walking, and getting the right nutrients all do wonders to knock the worst sweet tooth hankering out of the water.
Yet even with the best of intentions, sliding into momentary high-sugar-impact bliss becomes all too easy, and the repercussions of that show up around your waistline while destroying your health.
During times when those cravings hit, try these strategies. They've helped me stay on track and I think they could help you, too.
1. Try this rock star amino acid.
Meet glutamine, an amino acid that helps balance blood sugar and reduces your sugar cravings. You’ll find this multitasking amino acid (it also benefits gut health and lots more) in capsules or (preferably) powder, which can easily be blended into your protein shake or water.
2. Opt for sour over sweet.
When you retrain your taste buds, you become more sugar-sensitive but also appreciate other flavours like sour foods. Sour food can help to reduce sugar cravings and provide probiotics, which support digestive health. Sour dill pickles, anyone?
3. Go savoury.
Another way to ditch your sugar addiction: Focus instead on salty or spicy flavours such as basil and mineral-rich salts. One of my favourites is slow-roasted almonds with rosemary and sea salt. Crunchy decadence can knock out the most die-hard sweet tooth!
4. Eat more protein.
Protein puts the brakes on your neuronal reward system; the brain chemicals that make you feel good and motivate you to get more food even when you’re not hungry. When you’re low on protein, cravings take over and crack the whip in search of a quick ﬁx. Protein-rich superstars include grass-fed beef; wild fish; free-range organic chicken; barnyard eggs; and non-dairy, non-soy plant or animal protein powders.
5. Aim for 50 grammes of fibre every day.
Among its benefits, dietary fibre keeps you full on fewer calories, steadies blood sugar levels, and dials down cravings. Ideally, every day you’ll work 50 grammes of fibre from high-quality food into your meals. Here's an easy strategy to balance blood sugar and eat less during your subsequent meal: About 30 to 60 minutes before mealtime, stir a teaspoon or two of freshly ground flaxseed or a high-quality fibre supplement into a tall glass of filtered water.
6. Put some cinnamon in your coffee.
Cinnamon reduces blood glucose levels because it slows stomach emptying and makes you feel full faster. You’ll only need about a teaspoon daily to do the trick. I sprinkle mine into mycotoxin-free coffee! Make sure the cinnamon is fresh since its polyphenols and active ingredients degrade over time.
Does that half-eaten pint of butter pecan ice cream become your siren call at 11 p.m.? Don’t even let the enemy into your house, but if it strikes anyway, be armed. One study at the University of Washington found that just 8 ounces of water completely curbed night time cravings for everyone.