5 Ways to Beat The Sugar Cravings

April 25, 2014

Today, the average American eats and drinks about 152 pounds of sugar each year. That’s 22 teaspoons every day. Find out how you can get rid of inflammatory sugar in your diet today...

Did you know the average soda in 1955 was 7 ounces? A Big Gulp is 128 ounces that would be like 17 sodas in 1955! How did we get here?  Today, the average American eats and drinks about 152 pounds of sugar each year.  That’s 22 teaspoons every day, for every person. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, kids consume about 34 teaspoons every day making nearly one in four teenagers pre-diabetic or diabetic.

Being addicted to sugar is more of a biological process, driven by hormones and neurotransmitters that fuel sugar and carb cravings. It’s a contributing factor as to why nearly 70 percent of Americans and 40 percent of kids are overweight.

Here are SupermarketGuru’s 5 tips to help curb your sugar cravings.

Know where sugar is hiding.  Other than cakes, candies and cookies, sugar is also in almost all conventional (and even many natural) bread, canned vegetables, yogurt, pasta sauce, hummus, sauces, salad dressings, and unfortunately even baby food and baby formula. Read labels and ingredient lists. Sneaky ways to say sugar include; sucrose, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, glucose/glucose syrup, sorbitol, mannitol, lactose, barley malt, cane juice, evaporated cane juice (crystals), fructose, and maltodextrin.

Don’t drink your calories.  Any form of liquid sugar calories is worse than solid food with sugar or flour. You don’t feel full from beverages, so you eat more all day and you crave more sugar and carbs. It’s also the single biggest source of sugar calories in our diet. That includes sodas, juices (other than green vegetable juice), sports drinks, and sweetened teas or coffees.  It's also wise to cut back on the amount of added sugars you consume. This includes, coffee, tea, and breakfast items that you might add syrup or a teaspoon of sugar to (or sweet breakfast items in general!). To start, try cutting the usual amount of sugar you add by half and wean from there. Anther great tip is to remove sugar, and sweeteners from the table and possibly even you cupboard! Also try adding nutrient dense fruits including berries and bananas to sweeten naturally.

Get comfortable with complex carbohydrates.  Have a sweet potato with lunch everyday for five days and see how you do with sugar cravings. Complex carbohydrates help to slow the release of glucose in your blood stream to even out the spikes and dips that cause mood and energy imbalances and ultimately more sugar cravings.  Try having a complex carb with breakfast, lunch, and dinner regularly for at least a few weeks. Other examples of complex carbohydrates are black beans, brown rice, butternut squash, parsnips, yams, and plantains.

Use gentle sweeteners and spices.  Cinnamon, real cinnamon called Ceylon cinnamon has been clinically proven to stabilize blood sugar and to have a healing effect on the pancreas. Adding cinnamon to your coffee, breakfast smoothie, sweet potato, or whatever else you can think of is a great way to gracefully wean from sugar. It tastes sweet and satisfies.  Other natural sweeteners to use sparingly include dark liquid stevia (or powdered stevia), coconut sugar, raw honey, and maple syrup. Start upgrading the way you use sweeteners and soon you will crave less and less.

Include protein at every meal and snack.  This helps keep blood sugar stable.  Combatting blood sugar highs and lows helps us keep an even keel and not have energy lows where we crave sugar. Think 20 grams of protein at each meal and snack. Great sources include: fish, eggs, chicken, beans, nut butters, plain yogurt and more.

Still not convinced you need to cut back on your sugar? Read more here.

Dr. Mark Hyman is medical director of Ultra Wellness Center.