Sweets are one of the most tempting foods out there. Whether it's a simple candy, an indulgent dessert or good old mithai, it is hard to resist sugar-loaded items. Some people get their sugar fix from carbonated drinks and packaged beverages. While it is not advisable to cut down on sugar completely (read why here), it is still crucial to watch our intake. Consuming refined sugar poses a number of health risks. But it can be difficult to overcome sugar cravings. Many of us have made a habit of having something sweet after meals, or at other specific times. So how can you make yourself less likely to crave sugar? Here are a few facts to keep in mind:
Why Do We Crave Sugar After Meals?
Sweet cravings can be caused by several factors. They are often caused by an imbalance in your blood sugar levels. You may find yourself wanting sweets after your main course because digestion requires energy and sugar can provide a quick energy boost. Another possibility is that eating certain sweets can stimulate the production of serotonin, which lifts our spirits. So, you might actually be seeking something to improve your mood. Certain aspects of your lifestyle may also trigger sugar cravings. For instance, research suggests that poor sleep can leave you craving junk and high-calorie foods which are often loaded with sugar too. Read more about post-meal sweet cravings here.
So what can you do to ensure you don't give in to sugary temptations? Here are a few things you can try:
Can Salt Help Control Sugar Cravings?
According to celebrity nutritionist Pooja Makhija, salt can actually help you quickly beat your sweet cravings. "When we eat lesser salt, the addictive pathways in our brain become more activated therefore, we are more likely to eat more sugar or any other substance," she says. Hence, what you may think is a desire for sweets is actually a sign you need more salt. Read more about this surprising solution here.
What Should I Do If I Crave Sugar? Expert-Recommended Tips To Beat Sweet Cravings
Salt may not always be the answer to your problems. Besides, you also have to monitor your salt intake to ensure it does not get out of hand. You can choose to make a few changes in your diet in order to control your sugar cravings. Dietitian Manpreet Kalra recently posted about 10 ways to do so, and briefly explained how they can help:
- Your protein intake can have an impact on insulin sensitivity. Eating protein-rich foods can thus help curb sugar cravings
- Consume foods with complex carbohydrates, as they can stimulate the release of serotonin. Avoid cutting carbs completely from your diet.
- It is also important to eat magnesium-rich foods like nuts, quinoa, spinach, etc. as they can help control blood sugar levels.
- Dehydration may be one of the causes behind your sweet cravings. Hence, drinking enough water is essential.
- Consuming water with fenugreek (methi) seeds can prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.
- You could also consider drinking cinnamon water after your meals.
- Having small frequent meals can also help balance blood sugar levels.
- Maintain a healthy digestive system by including gut-friendly fermented foods like idli, dosa, curd etc. in your diet.
- Consume a little ghee each day, as this ingredient is rich in essential fatty acids and can help combat sugar cravings.
- Vitamin D plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels too. Hence, Manpreet recommends getting "sun exposure for at least 15 minutes from 9 am to 11 am."
Not giving in to cravings does not mean cutting off sugar completely. It simply means being more mindful of how much consume. Now you know what to do to ensure a healthier diet!
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
About Toshita SahniToshita is fuelled by wordplay, wanderlust, wonderment and Alliteration. When she is not blissfully contemplating her next meal, she enjoys reading novels and roaming around the city.