3 Ways To Stop Sugar CravingsNovember 22, 2021
“Ah! That was good. Let’s do it again,” says our brain’s reward system everytime we eat something sweet.
Among the five basic tastes – sweet, sour, bitter salty and umami – humans are genetically drawn to sweets. This is because we belong to the primate heritage, animals that survived the battle of evolution by eating ripe fruits.
But sugar craving is not just evolutionary, it is also psychological.
Our brains are wired to repeat behaviors that are pleasurable. When we eat sweet treats, our brain’s reward system – called the mesolimbic dopamine system – is activated. This triggers the surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine which signals our brain that an event is positive and that it needs to be remembered and repeated.
Our brain then encodes this positive event and reinforces us to seek and carry out the same action leading to the pleasurable experience, thus, our sugar cravings.
While sugar craving isn’t necessarily a problem, overindulging in this kind of food can cause obesity and other health complications.
Here are three ways to help you cut your sugar cravings (and eventually the guilt associated with it) according to experts.
1. Satisfy your sweet tooth occasionally.
This may sound ironic but forbidding yourself with all foods sugar can backfire too.
Odds are, you are getting into the all-or-nothing mentality, completely depriving yourself with sweet treats. According to studies, however, short-term, selected food deprivation can increase cravings for the avoided food.
Eat a bit of what you are hankering to help you steer clear of feeling denied and break your craving cycle overtime.
2. Keep your healthy options in sight.
We munch on sugary snacks like chocolate, cake, ice cream and cookies often because they are accessible when we are hungry.
As suggested by certified addiction specialist Judy Chambers, LCSW,CAS, keeping fruits handy and stocking on some foods like nuts and seeds can help us fight the temptation to binge on desserts when sugar cravings hit.
3. Get up and get moving.
This technique serves a two-fold purpose. First, it distances you from the display of enticing food that you’ve been itching to chomp.
Second, aerobic exercises such as running, swimming and cycling can actually suppress appetite.
According to Young-Hwan Jo of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, our hypothalamic neurons sense heat arising from our body when we exercise and respond to the exercise-induced warming by sending a “stop eating” message to our brain.
Sugar isn’t a superfood but it isn’t necessarily poison either. It is one of the most common and abundant forms of carbohydrate which is the main energy source of our body. In fact, sugar can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. Consuming it in moderation is key.
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