Sweet temptations, chocolates, desserts, ice-creams, one can never resist. Countless new year resolutions get broken when we fail to say “NO” to the heavenly and delectable yummy desserts.
So why do most of us have sugar cravings? There are numerous reasons why we crave for sugar. Let’s examine our diet. Is our diet balanced? A balanced diet requires whole foods, fat and protein. Consuming a bowl of pasta with no protein causes the carbohydrates to enter the blood stream rapidly. This spikes up the blood sugar level very quickly for a very short period of time. We do get energy with this spike but very soon sugar level drops again. These spikes of blood sugar level are abnormal, and cause sugar cravings. Whereas if we combine the carbs with protein and healthy fats, it slows the process of the release of sugar into our bloodstream and aids in maintaining a constant sugar level required by our body.
Packaged and processed food are also responsible for sugar cravings as there is a high sodium content in these foods. In a depressed state of mind, we use sugary foods as our comfort food. If we feel life has been hard on us we treat ourselves with desserts and sweet treats. We feel this will help us cope with stress.
It’s a mindset that chocolates will create a happy mood within us. Chocolate is known to have a chemical which signals the body to increase the levels of serotonin. Serotonin is an essential chemical and neurotransmitter produced by the human body which plays a major part in regulating moods. Other common reasons for addiction to sugar is boredom, skipping meals, consuming artificial sweetener. Another very common reason is we become habitual of eating sweets after every meal and we develop a sweet tooth!
Once we know the reason for our sugar cravings we can tackle it accordingly. First thing to do is to replace bad habits with healthy habits. For example, if we crave for dessert after every meal, we can use a healthy substitute like fruits or nuts which are naturally sweet.
Crucial mineral deficiency like calcium, zinc, magnesium, and iron cause fatigue, weakness, and dehydration. We should take care of any mineral imbalance in our body by taking supplements.
Good sleep is very essential for everyone. People who stay up late in the night, tend to eat more sweets. Consumption of sugary products keeps you awake at night, as it gives a spike of energy. These abnormal sugar level spikes and crashes fluctuates our mood and influences sleep habits. Regulating sleep hours is also critical to managing these cravings.
We should be mindful of our diet and add more vegetables, beans, legumes or any other form of lean protein. Eating balanced meals, helps to regulate our blood sugar levels.
Compulsive habit of sugar addiction can be also treated with mindfulness and meditation. Once we have a sugar craving we should be conscious of the thought. We should take a moment to reflect on our emotions at that time. We need to dig deep within ourselves to become aware of what we are emotionally craving for. This insight helps us to take a pause before we start eating the sugary goodies. If we make this a regular practice we can soon pinpoint the emotion which is causing the sugar craving. Being conscious of the root cause, helps us introspect and search for diverse ideas to cope with the anxiety.
We should make it a point to question ourselves before gobbling any more candies. This is almost comparable to a One Minute Mediation where our awareness deepens and our own intelligence guides us towards a solution which is NOT sugar!
This breathing space will lessen the sugar cravings and at the same time increase our will power to overcome this addiction!
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