Are you going crazy with sugary cravings?
Are your blood glucose levels making you crave sugary snacks or is it all in your head? Try these top 10 tips to find out what is really sapping your energy…
1. Watch the Clock
Don’t go longer than 5 hours without eating as your blood sugar levels will drop causing you to crave glucose. If you’re planning a busy day and will be rushing around with work, the kids, or whatever else it is that has you running around all day, then remember to pack a snack before you head out the door – don’t get caught out with a banging headache! Nuts, dried or fresh fruit, an oat bar, are good nutritious snacks.
2. Eat Lean
Choose lean protein with every meal, such as skinless chicken or turkey, fish, eggs, or low-fat cheese. Protein will help you to control your blood sugar levels, keeping your energy levels up all day. Protein is great for weight loss as it helps us feel fuller, it does this by stimulating the production of cholecystokinin, which is a naturally occurring appetite suppressant. And by choosing lean sources you’ll reduce calories too.
3. Drink Up!
Drink more, sorry, that doesn’t include alcohol. A glass of refreshing water is best, but if the thought of that leaves you feeling dehydrated then try a cup of herbal tea, a glass of milk, or fruit juice (not everyday if you are trying to lose weight as high in calories). Keeping your hydration levels up will help you feel full and get your mind off your cravings. Sometimes what you think are food cravings may actually just be thirst.
4. Eat Fat
Yes fat is good for you as it helps you absorb vitamins. Eating more good fat as part of a balanced meal will also help your body to slow down the release of glucose into your blood stream so you feel fuller for longer. Examples include; avocado, nuts, coconut, tahini, organic butter and oily fish.
5. Lower your GI
Low GI foods are broken down slowly into glucose and cause a slower rise in blood glucose levels after eating. Stable blood glucose levels can help reduce food cravings between meals and help control weight gain. Choosing lower GI foods may also help you to lower your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels (blood fats) and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Diabetes UK recommends making these simple changes to your everyday meals:
- Choose basmati or easy cook rice, pasta or noodles. Or, try plantain, quinoa or bulgur wheat for a change.
- Eat wholemeal roti and include dhal in your meals.
- Use new potatoes instead of old potatoes – try sweet potatoes for a change.
- Instead of white and wholemeal bread, choose granary, pumpernickel or rye bread.
- Swap frozen chips for pasta or noodles.
- Try porridge, natural muesli or wholegrain breakfast cereals.
6. Distract Yourself
Cravings are psychological too. So ask yourself do you feel bored or anxious? If so, distract yourself with another activity that will take your mind off your cravings without adding calories.
7. Refine your Plate
Step it up and refine your diet by replacing the refined foods with whole grains and fibre; so eat up more nuts, pulses, fruits, vegetables and whole-wheat foods. Remember that fibre makes you fuller and is great for your digestion.
8. Connect with Life
Watch out as sugar cravings are often associated with an emotional need that isn’t being met. You maybe using your little sweet treat as a comfort food to make you feel happier. Be mindful, look for happiness in non-food activities in your everyday life, such as talking to friends, reading a book, smelling roses, watching birds in flight, seeing your children or grandchildren play and explore the world – whatever floats your boat, just try it, find it and see!
9. Move it!
Get outside in the fresh air and exercise, it will calm you down, clear your head, and help quench any desire for over indulgence. Moderate exercise will get your lungs working and heart beating a little faster and work those muscles! Do this routinely, combined with a healthy balanced diet, and you’ll be well on your way to stabilising your blood glucose levels. Be careful if you have diabetes, as your body may not have enough insulin to unlock the glucose needed when you exercise, and your blood glucose levels will increase instead – so have a chat with your doctor first.
If you are trying to lose weight then make sure you get a good night’s sleep, as just a few sleepless nights are enough to drop levels of the hormone leptin (which signals satiety i.e. your body feeling full), it also boosts levels of ghrelin, an appetite trigger making you want to eat more starchy sugary foods.