When we consume simple carbohydrates in the form of white bread, pasta, cakes, or chocolate the body responds by releasing insulin. The insulin is released to remove the sugar from the blood, which is a normal function of the body, however, when a large surge of insulin is released as a response to the sugar consumed, inevitably this will lead to low blood sugar which causes further sugar cravings and the rollercoaster goes on and on.
Insulin in high amounts is something that we want to avoid as this is a hormone that likes to hold onto fat and if insulin is frequently released by the body, it will inevitably lead to weight gain.
In addition to the constant roller coaster of cravings and crashes, Sugar also lights up addictive reward pathways in the brain and long term consumption can cause a true addiction, so giving it up cold turkey without a plan can lead to failure
Steps that will kick the cravings
- Eat protein with every meal. Eat the size and thickness of your own hand (without the fingers) of protein with every meal. If you are not eating animal meat, ensure you are mixing foods to gain a complete protein from plants with every meal
- Eat fat with every meal: fat slows down absorption of the food, slowing down the release of insulin and fat makes you feel full for longer. Make sure you are including healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, cream and milk, full fat cheese (if you are having dairy), walnut, avocado oil, seeds and nuts. Protein and fat will make you feel full from less food and help crowd out the carbohydrates that raise insulin
- Take zinc and glutamine. Zinc helps the body metabolise insulin and glucose and a zinc deficiency can cause sugar cravings. Glutamine is an amino acid that balances blood sugar, which can help reduce and/or stop cravings all together. REPAIR contains both zinc and glutamine in adequate dosages formulated to help with sugar cravings
- Physical or emotional stress triggers the release of hormones that can cause high blood sugar levels, and what goes up must come down and with low blood sugar comes cravings. When these cravings surge due to stress, take 5 minutes out to re-group by breathing in counting to 5 and breathing out counting to 5, going for a walk, call a friend.
- Get enough sleep as low energy and fatigue make your body crave a quick energy boost in the form of simple carbohydrates such a sweet treat or drink.
- Fibre helps you stay fuller for longer, supports detoxification and can reduce candida (candida can cause sugar cravings). Include pulses, nuts and seeds (flaxseeds are a great addition in your smoothie or on your breakfast) and lots of vegetables in every meal. FEED is high in prebiotic fibre which will support your detox and help curb those cravings.
- Drink enough water and possibly add in some electrolytes to ensure you are hydrated, the brain sometimes confuses being thirsty with being hungry. This is because your body needs water to metabolise glycogen and lack of water makes this process difficult, making your body crave sugar for a quick boost of energy. Drink at least 8-10 glasses per day of water per day in the form of sparkling water with lemon/lime/apple cider vinegar, plain water and herbal teas.
- Start training your tastebuds to like sour and bitter foods when you eat more of these foods, the sweet taste will be less appealing and you will stop craving it. Bitter foods are foods like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, radishes and arugula, dandelion greens, cocoa, coffee, green tea. Bitter foods also help with detoxing the liver so they are a great inclusion. sour foods such as apple cider vinegar, lemon and grapefruit can increase the digestive juices helping break down foods and thereby improve the overall digestion.
- Take REPAIR and FEED in the afternoon to stop the cravings
- Clear your pantry and the drawer at works of all refined sugar foods
- Replace snacks with guacamole, pre-cooked meals or salads
- Prepare for the crisis/crash and have a plan ready in the form of healthy alternatives
- Use stevia (no calorie and no rise in blood sugar) as a sugar substitute in tea of coffee.
- Do some form of exercise: exercise will release endorphins, which can help turn off the cravings
- Have a piece of fruit; fruit is sweet and may be enough to satisfy the craving, try not to have more than 1-2 pieces of fruit per day and aim for low sugar fruit such as berries and apples
- Call someone or chat to someone in the office
- Ask yourself: am I hungry? If so eat a healthy meal
- Avoid certain triggers like walking past your favourite chocolate outlet
- Find other ways of treating yourself like watching your favourite show. (this works if your cravings are at night