Sugar addiction is real and it is probably one of the hardest things to fight. Sugar is literally everywhere — no thanks to food and beverage companies — from fat-free yoghurts to seemingly healthy salad dressings and pre- & post-workout bars.
But why are people addicted to sugar? Well, like most hard drugs, sugar sets the part of your brain that releases dopamine on fire, making you feel on top of the world, albeit temporarily.
So what happens when the feeling wears off? You go for another hit and it becomes a tasty but vicious cycle. Overconsumption of sugar can lead to diabetes and obesity.There’s more on that here.
Here are 5 tips for kicking your sugar cravings and controlling your sweet tooth.
Exercise Beats Sugar Addiction
There’s nothing quite like good old cardiovascular exercise to outrun your sugar addiction. Cardio workouts help your brain release endorphins or feel-good hormones while helping you shed off the extra kilos to boot! Two birds, one stone.
Sweetness is So Overrated
There are 5 flavour profiles in the world — umami or savoury, sour, bitter, salty, and of course — sweet. Most food and drinks drown in sugar, desensitizing your poor taste buds from the overload while making you want to add more sugar to your food. Ironically, if you lower the sugar level, you will experience other bold and more exciting flavours bursting through — and life is too short for just one-dimensional sweet notes.
Protip: Try flirting with spices that have sweet notes, such as nutmeg or cinnamon, for your morning cuppa. Like in this recipe.
Catch-Up on Your ZZZs
When you are running low on sleep, you send your hormones, especially “hunger hormones” ghrelin and leptin, totally out of whack. The former stimulates appetite while the latter tells your brain when you have had enough food. The two are produced like clockwork and your lack of sleep disrupts their balance, causing you to overeat — and chances are you’ll reach for that slice of chocolate cake instead of an apple. Have more sleep and you’ll make wiser choices!
Opt for Natural Sugar Sources
If you want to take baby steps, then your best bet is to substitute your favourite sugary snacks with fruits, honey, and maple syrup. They are not only sweet but contain important minerals and nutrients such as vitamin C and antioxidants. While these are natural substitutes for sugar, always remember that too much is never a good thing.
Drink More Water
Sometimes we can confuse dehydration with sugar cravings, so before you reach for the cookie jar, drink a glass of water and see how you feel. Earlier we mentioned trying out new flavours — why not add a dash of cayenne pepper or fruit slices to your glass of water if you need a little sweet kick.
With these tips in your arsenal, don’t fall hook, line, and sinker for sugar’s sweet temptations!