Chocolate, ice cream, sour candies, pastries, do you have trouble passing any of these up? Do thoughts of sugary treats come on strong and take over your thinking? Do you feel immediately happy when you first indulge then feel guilty and low right after the splurge? Sugar cravings can derail your progress in obtaining a six pack physique, but they are also a giant warning sign of underlying poor habits and/or health issues.
Simply saying “use willpower” to not indulge won’t help long term if you don’t address WHY you are having such strong cravings to begin with. You will eventually succumb to the urges. Finding solutions, not temporary Band-Aids is a better route.
Cravings for sugar can be the result of several things:
Habit –simply used to reaching for something sweet, triggers like driving by your favorite ice cream place or an after meal routine. Using it as a comfort or momentary “high”/”relief” from a stressor. Sugar stimulates the same brain activity areas as cocaine, so yes, it is addictive. Do you know how they keep newborns calm in the Pediatric ICU or prior to painful or stressful minor medical procedures to minimize crying, grimacing, heart rate and provide pain relief? They give them a little stick with a sponge on it or pacifier that is dipped in “Sweet-Ease” which is a sucrose analgesia (basically very concentrated sugar water). It instantly calms a stressed out child. Sucrose is thought to relieve pain by involving the activation of the endogenous opioid system through taste. Any wonder why we crave sugar in times of high stress or when we want to feel comforted?
Low magnesium levels – 70% of adults are magnesium deficient – if you crave chocolate that can be a good indication you have a deficiency – try supplementing with 400 mg of magnesium glycinate in the morning and again in the evenings you get an attack of cravings.
Zinc deficiency – zinc is essential to blood sugar regulation by influencing carb metabolism, increasing insulin response and improving glucose tolerance. Zinc influences basal metabolic rate, thyroid hormone activity, and improves taste sensitivity. – grass-fed meat and seafood are the best food choices for improving zinc levels – best to get through food first to maintain a healthy balance with copper. Overall improving nutrition and mineral intake through food and smart supplements will improve cravings.
A diet formerly high in carbohydrates. You may be used to running solely on your carb intake for fuel and now that is changing with better nutrition – there will be a period of adjustment while your body makes the incredible transition to using fat for fuel (both dietary and stored body fat) instead of dietary carbs. Insulin resistance and sensitivity often result from high carb and high refined food intake. That takes time to reverse and control insulin and leptin (the hunger hormone)
Hormonal imbalances from lifestyle and years of food choices, medication, child bearing, etc and lack of sleep trigger the hormonal increases like cortisol to stimulate the “desire” for high carb foods as a source of energy. Quick Fixes until you heal your deficiencies: Do your best to not give into the cravings with sugary junk or artificial sweeteners by not keeping them in the house or office. Try being physically active for 90 seconds (like jogging in place, push-ups or body weight squats) when a craving strikes. The natural endorphin boost and focus on doing something positive for your body may ward off indulging in the moment. Over time the cravings will absolutely subside and your taste buds will adjust making natural, whole foods taste much sweeter and processed foods taste awful!In the meantime, using tea like decaf chai tea bags with organic half and half and stevia if need be.
Quick Approved “Desserts” that won’t derail your fat loss.
1 Tbsp Chocolate PB2 Mixed with 2 Tbsp water = low calorie, low carb, low fat chocolate PB treat- super simple! Found in grocery stores and nutrition stores.
¼ cup ricotta cheese + unsweet cocoa powder + stevia
Makes 1-2 servings
1 Tbsp. Chia seeds
6 Tbsp. Almond or coconut milk
(choose a flavor) Vanilla extract or unsweet cocoa powder or cinnamon or powdered peanut butter (called PB2)
Swerve Sweetener to taste (can buy in nutrition stores or on Amazon.com)
Dash of sea salt
If you want a smoother texture, place dry chia seeds in the blender until ground.
Then in a mason jar add all ingredients. Put lid on and SHAKE well. Let sit in the fridge overnight (or until it congeals like pudding). Enjoy as a fat serving that also has some protein.
3.5.3226 If you want a smoother texture, place dry chia seeds in the blender until ground. Then in a mason jar add all ingredients. Put lid on and SHAKE well. Let sit in the fridge overnight (or until it congeals like pudding). Enjoy as a fat serving that also has some protein. Great for mornings but also OK in a bind if you need something once in a while after dinner.
2 tsp of Nutiva Coconut Manna– warm the jar and stir well. Then just measure two teaspoons for a craving attack. It is sweet and not like coconut oil. Can mix with the Chocolate PB2 if you want too.