We hate to love it, but most of us can’t get enough of it—sugar is an unfortunately-common staple in modern diets that’s tough to avoid and even tougher to stop craving.
The good news is, you can disembark from the sugar train with some clever dietary maneuvering that keeps your brain and body from craving this sweet stuff too acutely.
The Role of Sugar in Your Body
There are several different types of sugar, and one type—glucose—is necessary for proper brain function. Your body automatically converts carbohydrates (and some other foods) into this form of sugar.
Sugar only generally becomes a problem when it’s added to a food in large quantities, and added sugar is incredibly common today. In fact, added sugars make up about 15% of the calories in adult Americans’ diets,1 which is considerably more than the recommended level of 10% of the total energy intake.2
All of this boils down to one clear message: most people eat too much added sugar, but it’s tough to quit. So, how can you reduce the amount of added sugar you and your family consume without spiraling into withdrawal? The answer is surprisingly simple.
Combatting Sugar Cravings with Diet
Believe it or not, adding the right foods to your diet may help keep you comfortable when you cut your sugar consumption. sugar.
These are some of the most worthwhile dietary additions you can make if cutting down on sugar is high on your list of priorities:
This probiotic-rich food may be able to help reduce sugar cravings by minimizing bacterial strains that feed on sugar in your body. For maximum benefit, choose a plain yogurt and add fresh fruit for natural sweetness rather than opting for a fruit yogurt with more added sugar.
It may not be an overly scientific suggestion, but when you’re in the mood for something sweet, an alternatively sour flavor (like water with lemon) can stimulate your taste buds without feeding into the sugar craving.
Fermented foods like kimchee or sauerkraut may help with sugar cravings for the same reason that Greek yogurt may prove beneficial; they counteract bacterial strains that thrive on sugar.
Cutting out sugar doesn’t have to mean swearing off sweets. Stevia is an all-natural sweetener that won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar so you can still enjoy your favorite treats without any of the guilt.
If you rely on sugar rushes for quick (if short-lived) bursts of energy, then opt for protein-rich foods instead, like eggs, beans, nuts or meat. You’ll quickly find that sustained energy is far more enjoyable than waves of highs followed by crashing lows.
Curbing sugar cravings might sound like a tall order, but it’s possible with the right plan. By adding a few key healthy foods to your diet such as these, you may not even miss the added sugar that you’ve cut out.