It is not uncommon to hear people complaining about their uncontrollable sugar cravings and insatiable appetite. Today’s food supply is dominated by those that are high in carbohydrates and refined sugars, which tend to be cheap, readily available and make us feel happy and full… initially!
Although sugar (glucose) is our bodies’ preferred fuel source, it acts like a drug. The more we eat, the more we crave. Most people consume way more sugar than what they actually need, particularly as our lives become more sedentary.
If you’ve been struggling and want to take the control back, you will likely need to reassess your food choices and behaviours. Weaning your body off these high refined sugar foods is one of the most effective ways to do so. However, like any kind of ‘detox’, you may find it difficult at first.
If you know you currently consume too many sweets, cakes, biscuits and sugary drinks, you may need to allow yourself a couple of weeks to adjust. During this time, it’s helpful to be proactive, seek professional advice and map out a plan of attack.
When we eat sugar, this stimulates an insulin response that causes a rise in our blood sugar levels. This initial spike in blood sugar gives us quick energy boost and sense of happiness… and who doesn’t love that?! However, with every rapid rise comes a dramatic fall and we are left feeling just as hungry as we did initially, craving that same sense of satisfaction.
In order to prevent peaks and troughs in your blood sugar levels, it may help to adopt a slightly lower carbohydrate intake, particularly from simple sugars. This includes reducing intake of foods and drinks including biscuits, cakes, lollies, soft drink, sports drinks, energy drinks, ice-cream, chocolate, cordials (to name but a few).
When choosing carbohydrate foods, reach for low GI (glycaemic index) sources where possible as this will help slow digestion, prevent a rapid rise in blood sugar levels and create a greater sense of fullness for longer. Stick to fresh foods such as wholegrains, high fibre breads and cereals, legumes and lentils, fresh fruit, vegetables and low fat dairy products.
If you can adopt this way of eating as a long term lifestyle approach, you will likely notice a reduction in your sugar cravings, better weight management and improved appetite control throughout the day!
If this sounds like you, come in and see one of our experienced PPN dietitians to help you take back control of your cravings.