No matter how healthy or balanced your diet may be, sugar cravings can overcome the best of intentions. What causes these powerful urges that so many of us feel helpless against?
Hormones can play a huge role in the making of sugar cravings. High cortisol from stress or lack of sleep is probably the most common culprit. Sleep deprivation also causes a hormonal shift that reduces satiety and increases hunger. Double Trouble!! Women are especially prone to sugar cravings during hormonal fluctuations related to PMS and/or Menopause. And finally, insulin surges caused by processed sugary foods, creates low blood sugar, and the desire to eat more sugary foods. This can become a vicious cycle that is hard to break.
A diet filled with nutrient poor foods (fast, refined and white processed foods) creates vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The body needs nutrients to function properly, and will go to great measures to get them. One way to do this is to increase appetite. If you continue to eat nutrient poor foods, you will forever be hungry, never feeling satisfied. Lack of protein and fiber from whole foods can lead to sugar cravings as well. Dehydration is another culprit. Hunger and low energy caused by dehydration can lead to…you guessed it, sugar cravings!
So…what can you do?
First and foremost, eat a balanced diet rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and good fats. This includes, lean meats (fish, chicken, grassfed beef), legumes, greens (kale, broccoli, spinach), nuts, seeds, and fruit. What does this look like?
Breakfast: Eggs with sautéed kale, topped with salsa and avocado
Snack: Handful of walnuts and coconut shreds
Lunch: Mixed green salad with quinoa and black beans, topped with cherry tomatoes, red onion, pumpkin seeds, and feta. Drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Snack: Smoothie with blueberries, protein powder, and almond milk
Dinner: Salmon, steamed broccoli, spaghetti squash topped with melted coconut oil or butter
After Dinner Treat: Chai Rooibos tea, sprinkle of cinnamon & teaspoon of coconut oil
Secondly, de-stress and get some zzzzzzz’s. Stress and exhaustion can zap your willpower so fast it’ll leave you spinning. Aim for 7 – 9 hrs of sleep every night. Try some stress reducing techniques such as exercise, meditation, journaling, or yoga. Avoid the use of electronics before bed.
Thirdly, add a supplement or two when you need a little extra support. Our favourites include:
- Holy Basil
- Mulberry Leaf tea or caps
- Coconut Oil (melted in tea or by the spoonful!)
Keep in mind that we are only human; sweet foods add an element of sweetness to our lives. It is perfectly acceptable to enjoy a piece of chocolate or slice of cake, savour it and move on. But when the body gets distorted messages to eat sugar in excess amounts on a daily basis – that is cause for concern. If you battle with sugar cravings, come in and talk to one of our educated staff members. We can give you the weapons to slay those dragons once and for all!
By: Krista Boulding RHN, & Sandy Davies, RHN