Eating sugary foods can make us feel good, that's why we often find it so difficult to give them up. That's because when sugar is eaten, the brain releases a chemical known as dopamine, which stimulates the same receptor areas as heroin and morphine, creating a pleasurable response.
This feeling of enjoyment can make it difficult to resist sweet treats, leaving us powerless to resist these type of foods. Instead we find ourselves reaching for them again and again.
Modern convenience foods often contain high levels of sugar, and evidence shows that excessive consumption of the sweet stuff is linked with obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. That's why we need to monitor our sugar intake if we want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Below are some tips you can use to curb your sugar cravings…
Eat protein as this can balance blood sugar levels and reduce cravings. Good sources of protein include nuts, seeds, eggs, lean meats and fish. Protein can help you feel full for longer, especially if you have it for breakfast. This means you're less likely to reach for the biscuit tin before lunchtime.
Add cinnamon to your meals. If you're eating a meal containing a large amount of sugar, it's worth adding ¼ tablespoon of cinnamon as this can reduce insulin spikes. Cinnamon works by activating genes that relate to metabolic signaling, so your blood sugar levels will stabilise, making you less inclined to want sugary snacks.
Get more sleep. Studies indicate that when you're tired the body releases more of the appetite increasing hormone known as ghrelin. This makes sense, because your exhausted body is trying to get energy from another source. There is also evidence to suggest that sleep deprivation is linked to pre-diabetes because the way the body responds to sleep loss can imitate insulin resistance, resulting in high blood sugar levels.
Deep breathing exercises can relax the body and ease the nervous system. Cortisol is one hormone that can increase due to a lack of sleep, resulting in hunger, more belly fat storage and in the long term, Type 2 diabetes. Learning to breathe deeply can calm you, activating the vagus nerve and thereby shifting the metabolism from a fat storage into a fat burning state.
Eat foods containing chromium. This is a vital way to regulate your blood sugar and prevent any insulin dips and spikes that can lead to food cravings. Natural sources of chromium include apples, bananas, broccoli, green beans, potatoes and whole grains. It's recommended that you take around 200mcg of chromium daily to prevent any sugar surges in the body.
Take coconut oil on a daily basis. Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids or triglycerides (MCTs) that go into the liver and create energy, just as sugar and carbohydrates do. The difference is that coconut oil doesn't create an insulin spike, meaning that it's ideal for people who have insulin problems or who experience slumping. Two tablespoons of coconut oil, melted in the mouth or used in your cooking, are recommended daily for the best results.