According to scientists, sugar is highly addictive; it’s way up there with cocaine, heroine and tobacco. And as well as being in the usual culprits like doughnuts, cookies and chocolate bars, the sweet stuff that keeps you wanting more is just about everywhere, from bread to spaghetti sauce. There’s a frighteningly long list of why too much of the white stuff is bad, including chronic conditions like heart disease, damage to the liver, metabolic dysfunction and diabetes due to developing insulin resistance. Plus of course there’s the weight gain, empty calories and side effects like mood swings, headaches and brain fog.
So what can be done when your brain is begging for a sugar rush? It’s important to understand why we get these cravings in the first place. Cravings tend to occur when we’re not eating enough, making our bodies yearn for a quick energy fix. You could also be eating the wrong kind of food. Thankfully, there are several ways to win the battle against sugar, including getting enough sleep and changing exercise routines, but the most important change takes place in the kitchen.
Read on to see the kinds of foods to eat to help you resist sugary foods.
Upping your protein intake is a magical solution in helping to manage cravings. Eating protein instead of sugary foods is one of the most effective ways to maintain stable blood sugar levels and produce more serotonin, the ‘happiness hormone’, which plays a crucial role in the regulation of our appetite. Additionally, protein is great for satiety so you feel fuller for longer, making that Mars bar easier to resist later in the day. Plus, some protein-loaded foods can actually slow down the absorption of sugar and avert glucose spikes, which can subsequently reduce your sugar yearnings.
Adding more protein to your diet doesn’t necessarily mean you have to head to the local steakhouse all the time. As well as chicken, eggs and full fat dairy products like yogurt, some of the best sources of protein come from vegan friendly foods like beans, lentils, quinoa, chia seeds, vegetables, nuts and nut butters. What’s more, these foods provide fibre, antioxidants and electrolytes.
If you’re an avocado toast fan, you already know healthy fats are extremely beneficial. This is particularly true when you want to cut down on your sugar intake. Sugar is the first thing your body turns to when it wants to burn energy, but if that’s in short supply, then it will start burning fat. Not only will your body start burning dietary fat sources for energy; it will also start burning fat reserves. So, as well as becoming leaner, your body will start getting acquainted with the idea of using fat for energy and will call out for you to eat more healthy fats, which will help you resist that tub of ice cream.
And avocados are indeed on the top of the list of best foods with healthy fats, as they also happen to have a lot of protein. And so are olives, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, which is high in the good type of saturated fat. Foods brimming with omega-3 fatty acids also do a top-notch job. So include nuts, fatty fish like salmon, seeds and leafy greens on your weekly grocery list. What’s more, these foods are heart healthy, help with blood sugar control and keep the body satisfied for longer so you are less likely to have low energy levels between meals, which can prompt a quick sugar fix.