Excessive sugar intake is not only highly inflammatory for the body, it may also lead to high cholesterol/triglycerides, high blood pressure, breakdown of bones, decreased immune function, depression, mood swings and nutrient depletion.
And because sugar depletes the nutrients in your cells, it causes a series of unhealthy and harmful reactions.
Too much sugar may also prevent you from losing fat or adding on muscle and it definitely prevents your body from detoxing!
What are the main causes of sugar cravings?
- Decreased energy. Sometimes we feel low on energy after eating too much, or eating sweet stuff in general. Our reaction is to eat more sweets to bring that “high energy” back. And the roller coaster begins. Sugar also saps our body of essential nutrients, because it is empty calories with no nutrients and our body needs nutrients to break down food and use it for energy, our body has to tap in to our stores for nutrients to break this sugar down- further depleting our energy levels. Instead of relying on quick pick-me-ups like sugar and caffeine, try the amazing concept of laying down for a power nap or just relaxing in the sunshine. The power of rest and proper sleep is so vital, large corporations are actually installing napping pods into their wellness budgets.
- Dehydration may cause cravings. Have you been able to hit your goal of consuming at least half your body weight in ounces in fluids? What do you need to do in order to drink more water?
- Too much protein in our diet may also cause sugar cravings. Energetically, too much animal protein can cause a contractive energy and sometimes our body will try to balance this out by craving the expansive nature of sweet foods. Eat palm size portions of animal protein at meals for optimal balance.
- Too little (good carbs) complex carbohydrates in your diet may also cause cravings. Carbs break down into sugar, so if we are restricting too much, our body may just crave sugar in the quickest version (aka sweets). Complex carbs include fruits, gluten free grains, legumes and even vegetables!
- Too much salt or sodium in the diet may also lead to sweet cravings. This is another way of our body trying to balance out the senses. Sea salt is okay, although we should be doing our best to avoid processed foods like pizza, cured meats, deli meats, canned veggies and salted snacks.
- Addictions/ Mood disorders. Most people that used and abused drugs or alcohol crave sugary foods and drinks. That’s because sugar hits the same “feel-good” centers in our brain that the controlled substance once did, only on a smaller scale. People that suffer from mood a disorder also tend to crave sugar because it releases serotonin for a short period of time and provides a sense of calmness. Unfortunately this is very short-lived and comes along with many unhealthy side effects like weight gain, mood swings and other problems mentioned above.
- Not enough Primary Food. Is there an area of your life that is not being fulfilled? Job, money, home, fun, relaxing, health? Take time to really check yourself and your motive for reaching for the sweet treats. Are you trying to fill a void? Trying to relax from a busy day? What’s going on in your relationships? Does eating sweets make this area of your life feel better? Discover first what you are feeling or needing, then think of ways to deal with that instead of eating. What is it that you are lacking, feeling, or frustrated with? What can you do to deal with that feeling? Make yourself a list of things to do when you find yourself having sugar cravings…
- You may also crave sugary foods because you are not exercising. Since exercise gives us that boost of energy, if you miss your work out you may find yourself hitting the nearest cooking jar to get a surge of energy.
A FEW TIPS TO DECREASE SUGAR CRAVINGS
- Drink enough water. When the urge hits, down 16oz of cool water!
- Try making some “healthy” sweet foods (roasted sweet veggies), have them earlier in the day instead of trying to “be good”.
- Decrease salt intake- Watch out for salted snacks, canned goods, and frozen meals. And don’t use that salt shaker!
- Are you getting enough exercise? See if you crave more sugar on the days you miss that workout.
- Eat regular meals & snacks to keep blood sugar in check!
- Balance out your meals with complex carbohydrates like lots of veggies, fruits, starchy veggies-sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and healthy fats.
- Is there something in your life that you’re unhappy, or frustrated with? Do you reach for those sweets when these feelings surface? Find out what it is that you are feeling, then think of ways to deal with that feeling instead of eating sweets.
- Take 5 deep belly breaths.
- Take a walk outside.
Have a Healthier Sweet Snack!
Let’s face it. Sometimes, you really do just need a little sweetness. Here are a few suggestions that are detox-friendly yet satisfying for that little sweet tooth!
– Fresh, whole fruit (for a warm treat, try baking the fruit and sprinkling with cinnamon)
-Leftover whole grains (i.e. brown rice, quinoa) drizzled with maple syrup and cinnamon; add almond milk and bananas -heat and enjoy warm oatmeal-like porridge
– Smoothie or Smoothie bowl (protein, “milk”, organic berries)
– Sweet vegetables – yams, sweet potatoes, squashes (acorn, butternut, kabocha) – score with a knife, sprinkle cinnamon on them and bake
-Banana, split lengthwise, with nut butter spread in the middle and sprinkled cocoa on top
-Cold-pressed, organic green juice (Slashes sugar cravings like you wouldn’t believe!)
-Make a batch of my RAW Brownies (so good- You won’t even miss sweets!)
-Protein Nut Balls- There are many different varieties of these that I love but here is the original and most convenient recipe to make! These really help my sweet cravings and all of the ingredients are detox-friendly!
Protein Nut Balls- Original Recipe
Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly with hands. Roll into 1 ½ inch by 1 ½ inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze till hardened and store in a tuperware container in freezer.