Have you ever felt like you weren't getting enough to eat or were eating too much? You may be struggling with the amount of sugar in your diet and the resulting cravings.
Sweet foods and drinks contain a huge amount of calories in small amounts. When you consume too much sugar, it has a devastating effect on your health. This is because sugar has only two states: in excess, it is harmful; in moderation, it can be beneficial. The key to controlling your weight lies in controlling your sugar intake. This doesn't mean you have to eliminate sugar from your diet completely, but it does mean you have to change the way you approach it. Here are four tips that can help you combat sugar cravings and balance your diet.
Adopt a balanced diet
The basis of any weight management programme is a balanced diet. A balanced diet includes foods from each of the major food groups - carbohydrates, proteins and fats - as well as vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that your body needs. The complex carbohydrates found in plant foods are a major source of energy, while proteins are essential for building and repairing cells, tissues and organ systems. Fats are essential for healthy skin and hair and play a key role in the body's metabolism. When you consume too much sugar, the excess is converted into fat cells. That's why it's so important to eat a balanced diet and get enough exercise: a diet high in sugar and low in fibre and protein can lead to an imbalance in body weight that can ultimately cause serious health problems.
More protein = less cravings
Many people think that the only way to reduce sugar cravings is to eliminate sugar from their diet. But research shows that this is not the case. In fact, increasing protein intake can actually reduce the risk of craving sugar and other carbohydrate foods.
A protein diet can help reduce sugar cravings because it changes the way your body metabolises sugar. Instead of breaking down sugar into harmful fatty acids, your body converts it into natural sugar - glucose - which your brain can use as fuel.
Learn how to make healthy substitutions
Sugar is found in a wide range of foods, so it's easy to feel overwhelmed when you try to eliminate it from your diet. However, the good news is that you don't have to completely eliminate sugar from your diet to reduce your cravings. In fact, you can make healthy substitutions to reduce your sugar intake and still allow you to enjoy sweet foods. For example, you can replace sugar with honey and raw sugar with maple syrup, agave nectar or molasses. You can also try using stevia, a natural sweetener made from plants, or erythritol, which is a natural sugar alcohol. Be aware that replacing one sugar with another is not the only solution to the problem but an alternative that can be implemented in conjunction with other beneficial practices.
Find out about healthy and guilt-free snack alternatives.
Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine
Physical activity can help you control your weight, but it can also help you control your sugar intake. One study found that people who engaged in aerobic activities, such as jogging or aerobic dance, had significantly reduced sugar cravings compared to inactive people. While aerobic and anaerobic activities have similar metabolic benefits, it should be noted that anaerobic activities, such as weight training or interval training, produce even higher levels of endorphins than aerobic activities.
Also, if you notice that your sugar cravings are linked to periods of boredom, don't hesitate to see our article on adolescent boredom that can help you take your mind off things.
Sugar is found in a wide range of foods, so it's easy to feel overwhelmed when you try to eliminate it from your diet. However, the good news is that you don't have to completely eliminate sugar from your diet to reduce your cravings. In fact, you can make healthy substitutions to reduce your sugar intake and still allow yourself to enjoy sweet foods. By eating a balanced diet, including the right amounts of protein, fat and complex carbohydrates, and by engaging in regular physical activity, you can successfully combat sugar cravings and improve your diet.