Best remedy for Sweet Cravings
Most of us must have experienced the strong urge to bite into something sweet especially when we know we have to avoid sweets the most. A losing battle for many, we may end up reaching out to that piece of cake thinking that we’ll have the tiniest bite from it and then stash it away. Unfortunately, that tiny bite becomes a full fledged binge and without any conscious realization we may end up eating a big chunk of that much desired chocolate cake. The good news is that there is hope and curbing your sweet cravings is possible.
Why do I feel a craving for something sweet?
Sugar cravings may be a habit, a kind of a pleasant and harmless way to end a meal. But it can be particularly a cause of worry if one substitutes emotional turmoil’s such as loneliness, insecurity and depression with sugar-laden foods. Cravings are often triggered off during any stressful situation at work or at home. Stress can also be caused when one is engaged in any intense physical or mental activity. The need to bite into something sweet shoots up during any of such situation. It is body’s way of signaling that it needs glucose to keep going. The moment sugar enters the system, serotonin- body’s feel good hormone is released and one experiences an instant high. Thus, having anything sweet is often associated with a feeling of well-being.
If having sugar makes me feel good then why is it harmful?
Though having sugar is associated with an instant boost in energy and mood, the dip in energy (and mood after the binge) can be equally extreme. With the subsequent low, the body craves for more sugar. As time passes, the dependence on sugar to provide instant high increases. In fact, it is one of the unhealthiest ingredients you can put in your diet. It depletes the body of vital nutrients and causes drastic mood swings and affects brain function. Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health reveal a strong correlation between the consumption of refined carbohydrates-especially refined sugar – and increased risk of breast cancer. What’s worse is that sugar makes you fat!
How to satisfy a sweet craving:
- Best tip: Make sure you eat some protein (egg whites, soya granules, chicken, fish, dals, paneer etc.) with every meal. It helps reduce sugar cravings.
- Eat Small Frequent meals: Do not stay hungry for too long. Long gaps between meals and large quantity of the main meals cause drastic fluctuations in the blood sugar levels. Due to the long gaps, one ends up feeling extremely hungry by the time its meal time and therefore gorges onto unhealthy sugary foods To prevent this, it is ideal to have small yet frequent meals at the interval of every 2-3 hours to prevent the body on going into a roller coaster trip of high and low blood sugar.
- Get moving: Embark on some form of activity that can be either a regimented routine or something fun like dancing, walking the dog etc. Feel good hormones similar to the ones released after sugar consumption are released after exercise. Thus, the urge to have something sweet can be managed well.
- Clear the house of all sweets: Give away those sugary devils or stash them away only to be removed when guests arrive.
- Chocolate coated fruits: Treat yourself with a double dose of health. Dip some of your favorite fresh fruits like strawberry, apple, banana etc. in melted dark (sugar free) chocolate (it is loaded with polyphenols and bioflavonoids) and have it as an after-meals treat. This will not only fulfill your sweet cravings but even add some anti-oxidants and fiber to your diet.
- Sorbets, the frozen fruit treats: Freeze your favorite fruit juice, blendarize it and perk it up with lemon juice and rock salt and serve as fruit scoops. They are delicious alternatives to sugary and fat-laden ice-creams.
- Frozen fruit: Freeze bite size watermelon cubes and snack on them when you have your sugar attack. You can also eat fruits like apples, grapes, papaya & chikoos. Remember to eat (chew) them slowly if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Sweeten desserts with jaggery, honey or dates.
- Eat sweet vegetables. Raw carrots are sweet and juicy and help to overcome a craving if chewed slowly; enough to bring out its natural flavor. If eaten hastily you may not be able to `discover’ its sweetness.
- When the sugar craving is very strong, eat dry fruits like anjeer, dates, black currants etc.
- Taking chromium supplements may help to reduce sugar cravings.
People who overcome the sugar habit, experience higher energy, emotional stability, improved memory and better health in general. Most of us may find ourselves at the losing end in the battle against sweet craving; however, a little self-control and some of these smart tips, may help you overcome these cravings.
ANJALI MUKERJEE, Nutritionist, Founder Director-Health Total, having health centers
in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune -manages obesity & other health related disorders.
Contact numbers: 1800 8918131/+91 86575 61727
For further information, Visit www.health-total.com