Are you feeling hungry? The desire to grab a snack or treat yourself to dessert is normal but, when that urge becomes uncontrollable, food cravings can be more than simple willpower can handle. When you need to curb your craving for something sweet, in particular, there are many factors to balance, but once you’ve learned how to stop sugar cravings, you’ll be ready to enjoy your favorite sweet foods in moderation.
With any craving, you might be able to curb your appetite with a glass of water. Often, we mistake our bodies’ dehydration signals for a sugar craving or general hunger. Instead of immediately reaching for a sweet treat, drink some water first—if you utilize a home delivery water service, you can even have fresh spring water on hand whenever a sugar craving strikes. If you finish your glass of water and are still desperate for sugary foods, you can consider other methods to manage your sugar intake, but beforehand, you might find you just needed something to drink.
Pay attention to a craving’s deeper meaning.
If you’re facing a sugar craving, you might actually be dealing with a nutrient deficiency. In many cases, that deficiency could be a lack of magnesium. Craving junk food with added sugars might mean you need more fiber or protein in your diet. At the simplest, you might need a little more energy, mainly if you’re dealing with a lack of sleep. If you’re well-rested, thoroughly hydrated, and your body has plenty of nutrients, it could be a craving for serotonin, a chemical that controls happiness.
Opt for natural sugars.
If your sweet tooth just isn’t satisfied, you can still control how much sugar you take in by choosing healthier versions of sugary foods. Turn to fruit or fruit juices as a way to curb your craving with something more nutritious. Whole foods like berries or other naturally sugary snacks can regulate your blood sugar levels and please your taste buds without the less-than-ideal qualities that come from the less healthy items in your pantry. Not sure of what foods might help? The American Heart Association offers a list of substitutes for common cravings, including sweet treats.
Control outside factors.
Someone with a sugar craving that isn’t caused by a health concern or other apparent factor might need to implement lifestyle changes instead. Stress is one of the most significant triggers for these cravings, but controlling your stress levels can solve your sugar craving concerns. In the process, you’ll find that stress relief comes with other health benefits, too, like better sleep and a better mood.
Talk to your doctor.
Should your sugar craving prove to be a long-term issue, you might want to consult your doctor. They may refer you to a registered dietitian who’ll formulate a healthy diet to minimize your cravings or recommend a supplement to control a nutrient deficiency. A sleep technologist can help you get enough hours of sleep, a great way to decrease cravings and related concerns. Alternatively, a mental health professional can help you manage serotonin and other chemical levels to keep you from facing further cravings.
A sugar craving isn’t always straightforward, from blood sugar fluctuations and dehydration to stress levels and medical needs. Once in a while, satisfying your sweet tooth is as simple as indulging in a favorite dessert. When your cravings are occurring more frequently, line up with an increased period of stress or other triggers, or you just can’t satiate them, consider talking to your doctor or another professional to get your food cravings under control—and get your diet and overall wellness back on track.