If there is something I love, it is sugar. Tasty, sweet. A perfect pick me up. I tend to be fairly un-picky about its form. From candy (Nerds anyone?) to baked goods to fruit, I love it all. These days, as much as I love it, I don’t crave it.
It’s easier to pass by a candy dish and I don’t need 5 pumps of vanilla in my coffee every day to get me out of bed. The cravings used to hit me pretty hard. Until I learned that a sugar craving could just mean that you are dehydrated. It was life-changing. (And I don’t use that term lightly).
The white stuff is bad for you
We all know sugar is bad. That it might be as addictive as cocaine (at least according to hyperbolic news coverage). Also, that it is terrible for your body in large quantities. But in case you don’t know just how bad it is for you, here are a few things it can do:
- Lead to adult-onset diabetes and obesity
- Impede absorption of protein
- Cause cavities and decrease oral health by increasing bacteria
- Cause gastrointestinal problems
- Result in headaches both from consuming too much and from going through withdrawal
How to stop sugar cravings
Eat less sugar
If you eat a lot, eat less. By reducing your candy, baked treats and soda intake, you can start winning the battle against your cravings. As you eat less of it, you will start to crave less. Sometimes, it’s easier said than done. And sometimes you crave sweets even if you don’t eat a lot of them.
In the short term, when you are craving something sweet, drink a glass of water. It could be a sign that you are dehydrated and it could take just long enough to drink a glass to help you forget you had a craving in the first place. If you’re like me, and plain water is hard, try fruit-infused water.
Check your magnesium intake
Sugar cravings can be caused by low magnesium. And many adults are deficient in this mineral. Consider taking a supplement that includes it or choosing foods that are high in it as you work to eliminate your cravings.
This ingredient in supplements can help manage blood glucose levels (as well as a few other things). The science is complicated because it can both increase and decrease blood sugar levels. But the short story is that it helps keep the balance.
Sugar cravings can be hard to avoid, especially when it lurks everywhere from “health” food to marinara sauce. But with a little willpower, you can start to beat the cravings. And when you need a little extra help, these tips will help you get there.
Mary Fran Wiley is a well known gluten-free and positive living blogger from Chicago where she writes Curiouser and Curiouser, maintains the Chronic Positivity Project, founded the organization hope.dance and has been featured in Allergic Living Magazine, Care2.com and Today.com.