I am a sweet tooth junkie, so that was really my biggest worry when it came to my journey to lose weight and compete as a bikini competitor....
What I didn't realize was how much it was just a crutch for me, but also how accustom I had become to having so much sugar in my daily life as I was drinking most of my sugar.
Cappuccinos for breakfast, soda or sweet tea for lunch and dinner. You name it.
Here are some of the Sweet Tooth hacks I have learned over the years.
First things first...
You need to understand why you have sweet tooth cravings.
The human body craves sugar for various reasons, and generally, each craving is different for each person. Your brain may experience an intense craving because it needs sugar for energy and to function properly. But beyond meeting a need, sugar cravings for adults tend to be habitual, rewarding, or even just physiologic.
It's a habit
Your daily habits are formed deep within your brain, and while some sources may say that it takes 21 days to form a habit, the truth is any habit can form as long as the brain is satisfied with the end result. Certain neurochemicals in the brain can cause addiction to sugar, similar to that of illicit drugs, opioids, and alcohol. In addition, changes in dopamine receptors in the brain appear to have an impact on addiction to sugar.
Dopamine gets released by when you experience some sort of happiness and results in a feeling of euphoria. As a result of this hormone response, your brain will habitually desire sugar the way it does other harmful compounds like drugs and alcohol.
It's a reward
Too often, adults looking to stay fit, get fit, or maintain any fitness at all use a reward system for motivation. Actually, a reward system is a great way to motivate a workout and push you to the next level. However, in the case of using sugar as a reward, this may not be the best idea.
The brain needs glucose to properly function, so it makes sense that the brain will crave sugar in order to get it. Though the body breaks down all carbohydrates into simple sugars, so you don’t literally need to eat sugar to feed your brain glucose, physiologically speaking, the brain could be craving this nutrient as a way to get what it wants, even if it doesn’t need it. Perhaps your blood sugar is low and your brain is asking for sugar? Your mind could be tricking you into thinking you need sugar when you really don’t.
Sweet Tooth Hacks
#1: Get more sleep
Your body needs sleep and recovery to replenish the body and mind. When you have poor sleep quality, you will be more susceptible to sweets the following day trying to make up for lack of energy.
Related Read: Increase your energy in 1 week
#2: Eat more natural sugars
Skip the artificial sweeteners that can hide in your drinks and food. They have no nutritional benefits and typically strengthen and encourage your dependence and cravings on sugar.
Eat more fruit and sweet potatoes. If needed to sweeten anything, use raw honey stevia, and maple syrup instead.
#3: Go "no added sugar"
Don't confuse this with sugar-free.... you want food where they are not adding any additional sugar. This goes for most condiments like jelly or jam preserves and ketchup.
You want the most natural form of any foods without anything added to enhance or preserve them.
#4: Don't skip meals
This is a common practice among people trying to lose weight. As a way to conserve calories for a future meal or to make up for being “bad” on a prior meal, some adults skip meals.
While this seems logical as a way to prevent weight gain, skipping meals can cause you to have sugar cravings as a result. Generally, this is caused by reduced blood sugar levels.
#5: Eat more fiber
Fiber is a starchy substance that passes through the digestive system untouched, meaning that fiber is not processed at all in the stomach or intestine. Fiber helps to slow the absorption of the foods you eat and it can also help to curb cravings you have by keeping you full for longer.
Consider eating foods that are naturally high in fiber - like vegetables, beans, legumes, and whole grains - to help curb cravings.
#6: Chew ice cubes
This may seem odd at first, but I got your attention right? Mainly this goes for those of us who like to eat and tend to eat out of boredom.
If you have nothing else going on today and start to crave something sweet, you might actually just be bored and wanting something to do rather than actually hungry.
#7: Drink water first
Your body is mostly made up of water, so it is an essential thing to drink and have to keep your body processing everything as it should.
The more dehydrated you are, the greater the chances will be to have a hormonal imbalance that can lead to sugar cravings as a result.
#8: Have it in moderation
At the end of the day, if you are still wanting something sweet have it. Just don't go over board and start to make the necessary changes to reduce how much you have on a regular basis.
Over time you will want it less and less and your body's desire for it will diminish as long as you continue to make the effort to get more of a handle on it. There are many things I can't even have now when I splurge just due to the fact it is way too sweet to me now.
Here are some of the many Sweet Tooth Swap Hacks that you can start making today:
- Regular potatoes to sweet potatoes
- Jelly to no sugar added jelly
- Splenda to stevia
- Larger portions to a small portion
- Regular milk ice cream to halo top
- Frappacino to black coffee
- Fruit snacks to mixed berries
- Regular ketchup to no sugar added ketchup
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