Unleashing from sugar dependence
Getting past the sugar craving isn’t particularly easy. Sugar is thought to be addictive.
When reducing the amount of sweet stuff in your life, don’t be hard on yourself. It varies from person to person as to whether going cold turkey or gradually reducing works better.
Try these tips to get around those cravings; cravings that will soon ease over time.
It’s 3pm or post-dinner, and cookies call! Instead, reach for an orange, slice an apple, or snack on a handful of berries to get that sweet, yet wholesome, fibre and nutrient-rich fix.
Tablespoon of 100% nut or seed butter
Nuts are super special foods, being packed with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, protein and friendly fats. For dessert or a mid-afternoon snack, try scooping out one tablespoon from a jar and licking it straight off the spoon – it is delightfully satisfying. Or slice some fruit and dip or top with nut butter – yum!
Remember, whether almond, cashew, peanut, pumpkin, sesame or otherwise, choose only 100% – it doesn’t need any added oils, salt or sugar.
Take the time, once a week, to make a batch of something you’ll enjoy as a snack or dessert. Homemade sugar-free jam, nutty banana bread balls, fruit and nut chocolate slab or a chia seed pudding with chia, fruit, plain yoghurt, cinnamon and vanilla are all tasty ideas.
Serve of healthy fats
Fats can activate reward centres in the brain like sugar, though not quite as strong but in similar ways. Damon enjoyed avocado or a teaspoon of coconut oil to help cravings. The latter may sound gross to some, but this can be enough to kill the desire.
Have something icky
Damon found when recovering from the That Sugar Film experiment, using reverse psychology and having a little apple cider vinegar sorted his craving right out!
Other things to consider are:
- Drinking plenty of water
Often we reach for food when our body really desires some H20!
- Getting exercise (and de-stressing)
Many desire the sweet stuff as a mood boost. However moving the body regularly, whether you enjoy kicking a ball, boot camp, yoga, walking or something else, can encourage feel-good endorphins you’re after and reduce stress levels.1
- Eat whole foods regularly
Missing meals – intentionally or otherwise – can result in a slump in blood sugar levels, leaving us reaching for something sweet to offer a quick pick-me-up. Eat whole foods with healthy fats, some protein and/or fibre to keep your energy firing.
- Change routine
If it has become a ritual to sit in a specific chair, watch some telly, and eat something sweet following your nightly meal, try sitting in a different spot with an alternative after dinner delight, like sliced fruit or a cup of herbal tea. The change in routine can help!
- Get it out of the house/desk drawer/car
If you see it or even know it is there, you are going to want it. Don’t buy and stash food or drink high in added sugar. Instead have on hand whole foods like nuts, fruit, veggies sticks and dip, plain yoghurt or slices of cheese, and have a drink like good ol’ water.
Have you managed to (mostly) kick your sugar cravings? Share your tips and tricks with the That Sugar community!
By Angela Johnson (BHSc Nut. Med)
- Better Health Victoria 2016, Exercise and depression, viewed 19 June 2017, <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/depression-and-exercise>