The urge to eat sugar can be mighty, especially if you feel drowsy in the afternoon and a coworker bought donuts for the office. The crazy thing is that sugar tempts you and it’s difficult to resist it, despite the fact that you aren’t hungry. Some people rely on sugar or find it difficult to pass up dessert after a meal. According to researchers, roughly 86% of people who had sugar cravings thought about high-calorie foods, especially ones that contained chocolate.
Now, when sugar cravings strike, you can reach for other, healthier foods that help satisfy your desire. It may come as a surprise to you to learn that substituting blueberries for chocolate keeps sugar cravings at bay. Reducing the amount of sugar you consume is paramount to overall health, considering the average American adult consumes over triple the recommended daily amount of sugar. Eating too much sugar can lead to complicated health conditions like high blood pressure, weak immune system, and liver damage.
Healthy alternatives may not taste like donuts or ice cream, but they satisfy your sweet tooth in the same way. Their natural sugars are much healthier than the added or artificial sugars in most processed foods. When the craving for something sweet strikes, consider grabbing one of the following foods instead.
You can thank the combination of healthy fats, fiber, and protein for curbing your sugar cravings. Pistachios are an excellent snack, but be mindful of how many you eat, as too many can easily increase your caloric intake. A 2020 study found that eating pistachios helped decrease the consumption of sweets. Additionally, they helped promote weight loss in adults with obesity.
Not only can oats help stave off hunger, but they also help to reduce glucose levels and curb sugar cravings. Naturally rich in soluble fiber, rolled old-fashioned oats or steel-cut oats are the best options to choose. The instant oatmeal packets are unhealthy and contain added sugars and processed ingredients. Plus, a bowl of oatmeal will help you avoid the carbohydrate spike that most breakfast cereals induce.
The one-two punch that knocks out your sugar cravings is the combination of protein and fruit. Protein and the natural sugars from fruits help to reduce sugar cravings by balancing blood sugar levels. A 2015 study monitored adults with obesity and the results indicated that increasing protein intake by 25% significantly reduced cravings.
Berries are natural sources of water, fiber, and powerful antioxidants. They happen to be some of the best fruits to eat when sugar cravings strike. Berries are low-glycemic fruits, providing plenty of sweetness without spiking blood sugar levels. They also help you feel fuller and may improve insulin sensitivity.
Chia seeds are tiny, but mighty when it comes to their nutritional profile. They are rich in protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, making them excellent for curbing sugar cravings. A 2017 study found that eating chia seeds with unsweetened Greek yogurt helped reduce cravings for sugary foods. This meal option also increased feelings of satiety. You can also make your own chia pudding, which is an excellent breakfast or snack option. Click here for recipes.
Is water going to satisfy your craving for chocolate cake? Absolutely not. Being dehydrated, however, can make you crave sweet treats even if you aren’t hungry. Many people often misinterpret thirst and dehydration as hunger. According to several studies, drinking more water helps to reduce feelings of hunger and food cravings. A 2018 study monitored a group of overweight people who drank an extra 1.5 liters of water per day. At the end of the study, participants not only weighed less, but also had less body fat and fewer cravings.
Foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, and coconut, olive, avocado, and walnut oils are excellent sources of heart-healthy fats. Eating more healthy fats can actually help you displace excess sugar from your diet. Plus, they work to keep the body satisfied for longer between meals. That means you can experience fewer energy dips and your interest in sugary foods may wane.