Sugar addiction has many components and factors behind it, it’s not as simple as stopping or being unable to stop. There are neurotransmitters that are feeding our brain information and when they are low, our brain searches for what is going to fill that void.
We also have our gut microbiome that thrive off sugar as it is a quick energy source for them also, when they don’t get quick sources of energy, they start to feel lousy (like we do!) and they will release hormones that tell our brain that you as a human need sugar and then the brain responds to this.
The trick to reducing refined sugar in our food is to focus on what we are putting in. A whole food, balanced diet is enough to sustain us without the need for “instant energy hits” that the sugar provides.
The better we eat, the more our body will realise that it is content without the sugar. However for many, this can be easier said than done which is why I have given some recommendations below on how you can support a transition away from refined sugar through the diet:
1. Do not substitute sugar with another addictive substance.
Coffee/Caffeine or alcohol I am looking at you with this one. Substituting one addictive substance with another is not beneficial. It is still causing harm to the body if not consumed in small amounts and is not addressing the issue, instead it’s creating a new one! Caffeine and alcohol are also not beneficial to our nervous system, mood, our gut nor our liver so perhaps try some of the other recommendations below!
2. Ensure you are getting your veggies in.
1/2 of your plate should be covered in veggies as the veggies provide the fibre, vitamins and minerals to support your energy levels and also to feed your gut micro biome. Plus if you eat enough veggies, you will feel fuller for longer which is what we need when it comes to sugar cravings.
3. Eat macronutrient balanced whole foods.
This statement may be confusing for some. Whole foods is real food, not from a packet. Simple food in it’s least processed form.
Eating whole foods give us enough protein, energy and nutrients that we should not feel that we need a sugar pick me up. But to ensure this occurs, we need to balance our macronutrients:
- Ensuring we have 1/2 a plate of vegetables
- Adding in some complex carbohydrates such as potato, sweet potato, brown rice or whole grains
- Ensuring we have a fist size portion of protein in every meal.
Don’t forget to add fat to your meal also - fats such as avocado, coconut or olive oil keeps us satisfied for longer and preventing us for grabbing for a sugar fix one hour after eating.
You should feel content after a meal, not hungry nor overly full. If still feeling hungry, wait 20 minutes before eating more.
4. Eating every 2-3 hours.
If you are a sugar fan, you may need to spend some time readjusting your blood sugar levels.
Ensuring you eat every 2-3 hours is a good way to ensure your blood sugar levels are not dropping too significantly and driving you to find a sugar hit.
Ideally, we want to get you eating every 3-4 hours however 2-3 hours is a good starting place whilst transitioning away from refined sugar.
5. Fruit is not the enemy.
Fruit in it’s entire form is not the enemy when it comes to regulating blood sugar. Especially if you have come from a high sugar diet, having some fruit is a great transitional step.
A regular peach contains about 1% of sugar, so when balanced with the fibre and other nutrients, the sugar is not a problem.
A fruit has been packaged in neat little bundle full of natural sugars, fibre and a heap of vitamins and minerals. The fibre content assists by not driving up your blood sugar too high and keeping it more even.
However fruit juice does have the ability to drive up blood sugar due to the fibre being extracted so our body finds it more challenging to process.
6. Substituting sugar for artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners are more difficult for our body to process than sugar, yes the calories are lower however when we consume artificial sweeteners, our brain receives the message that is has received something sweet however it does does have the calories, which then confuses your brain and it then tries to correct the imbalance making you hungrier.
7. Increase more chromium based foods in the diet.
Chromium is a nutrient and deficiency impairs the body’s ability to use glucose to meet its energy needs and raises insulin requirements. Foods that are higher in chromium include: broccoli, potatoes, green beans, whole grains, apples, bananas, beef and poultry.
If you are still struggling with sugar cravings, please be in touch so we can support you 1:1 via booking a consult using the link.