If you're like many people, you've probably come up with one or two New Year's resolutions to try implementing as the clock strikes midnight tonight. Whether you succeed in these endeavors is another story, however. A common resolution that many may choose to check off their list of bad habits is overindulging their sweet tooth. There are many reasons why sugar cravings may be affecting you, and here are some ways to ensure that sugar doesn't hinder your fresh start this 2015.
Why do you get sugar cravings?
Cravings for certain foods are common, with some of the most common culprits being sugar and salt. Consuming sugar increases the production of the feel-good chemical dopamine; also, carbohydrates like sugar increase serotonin levels, which are also tied to pleasure. You might be experiencing sugar cravings simply because you love the taste of your favorite frosted doughnut, or because you have a medical issue or nutrient deficiency—at which point you should get checked out by your doctor. Stress is also a factor that can play a part in the reason why you want to devour an entire box of brownies in one sitting. After that initial sugar high and feeling of satisfaction subsides after consuming your favorite treats often comes a crash or even more cravings for sugar, both of which can be extremely detrimental when it comes to sticking to a healthy diet and fitness routine. There are several ways you can lessen the severity of your sugar cravings so you can attempt to kick the habit for good, or simply improve it.
Try a chromium supplement.
As Dr. Oz recommends, taking 200 mcg of a chromium picolinate supplement once a day, before any one meal, can encourage a healthy balance in blood sugar and therefore help reduce cravings. According to WebMD, chromium can help our bodies to use insulin more effectively, which in turn can contribute to a reduction in sugar cravings.
Enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit.
Instead of scarfing down a bag of artificially-flavored candy when your craving strikes, try reaching for the natural sweet taste of fruit. Besides being much healthier for you, snacking on fruit like strawberries can help fill you up with fiber and plenty of vitamins and minerals, making it a double whammy in terms of satisfying your hunger while simultaneously boosting your nutrient intake.
Sip on licorice tea.
In order to detox your body and successfully embark on a healthy diet, getting rid of excessive sugar is typically necessary. In addition to supporting your liver on its quest to flush toxins from your system, sipping on some licorice tea can help appease your sweet cravings in a more natural, zero-calorie way. In addition, licorice is a soothing compound that can improve throat soreness and provide other calming effects. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not use licorice tea. In addition, licorice can interact with many medications, so if you are taking any, you should speak to your doctor first.
Balance a sweet snack with a healthy one.
If there's absolutely no way you can knock out sugar altogether, cutting back slowly can do the trick. The next time you want to dive into a bag of M&Ms, try eating several of them alongside some baby carrots. The mixture of good and bad foods can trick your body and mind into believing you're eating more sugar than you actually are, which can spare you the extra calories and help reduce the risk of a sugar crash and intensified cravings afterward. So while you're calming your sweet tooth, you'll also be boosting your vitamin A, potassium and fiber, which are found in carrots. Think of it as still indulging a bad habit, but in a slightly healthier, less guilt-causing manner...
As the year comes to a close, and a new one begins, now is the opportune time to make some significant health changes. If kicking your sugar habit is one thing you'd like to put a stop to, we hope some of these suggestions are able to help you out. Remember the importance of receiving clearance from your doctor before trying any supplements or making any drastic changes to your lifestyle.
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