What, Why and How- All about Sugar Cravings
Amount & timings of consuming anything both matter for our health. Like drinking plain water before meal is good but just after meal is bad for digestion and when it comes to excess sugar, Gosh! It is no less than any poison for our body. I really don’t think I need to define “Sugar Craving” when the entire world is finding ways to curb it. I take it as “Losing self-control”. Despite of knowing the fallouts people are consuming it in bulks.
I will brief “Why these cravings occur?””What damage they can do to us?” and the most challenging part of our life “How to curb these cravings to an extent?”.
WHY do they occur?
Sugar cravings generally come in packages. There are inter-related medical, psychological and physical pretexts for it. But if I discuss the same in layman’s language these temptations have unaccountable pleas varying from seasonal to occasional but “Kuch meetha ho jaye” is prevalent on every celebration in my country.
Let me now come to the point why these cravings actually happen and reasons we might have never thought of.
- Infection of Yeast Yeast feeds on sugar if your gut is infected with it, you’ll definitely crave for sugar.
- Hormonal Imbalance at Menopause may make women more resistant to insulin, & more levels of serotonin cause sugar cravings. Sugar increases endorphins level which have a pain relieving quality. Women have very low endorphins at premenstrual stage & that’s when they love to eat chocolates/sweets.
- Underactive Thyroid leads to fatigue & sugar cravings.
- In a recent study by Brazilian researchers it was found that women tend to take more sugar in stress & 77% of stressed women have more waist circumference than 33% relaxed women.
- Insufficient Hydration in body may lead to hunger for something to give instant energy.
- Incomplete Nutrition lack of different nutrients leads to different cravings like mineral deficiency leads to salt cravings, inadequate nutrition leads to cravings of sugar or caffeine.
- Psychological reasons like unsatisfied with career, marital life, even incorrect exercise routines or loneliness may create voids & to fill these empty space we engross ourselves into anything which gives us temporary pleasure.
- Consuming too much of processed salty, starchy & less of proteins and skipping meals especially breakfast causes blood sugar deregulation, & to balance it we consume sugar intensely.
WHAT damage they can cause?
Sugar addiction is as bad as addiction to any drug. It can cause heart failure, Diabetes, Weight gain, Cancer cell production & some problems in brain cells too.
Let me throw light on some little known facts too.
Excess sugar cause a decrease in good cholesterol & increase in bad cholesterol, premature ageing, weaker eyesight, makes immune system weak, acidity in saliva & increases the risk of polio.
The list does not end here. There is much more to this “killer sugar” beyond our thinking.
It can lead to DNA structure problems, increase in kidney size, hormonal imbalance, increased uric acid.
Too much of sugar may give birth to Alzheimer’s disease (Diabetes in brain- Brain’s ability to use glucose & produce energy is damaged).
Too much sugar stops Leptin (a hormone which makes us stop eating when we are full) also work.
“Are you feeling a bit shaken, stirred may be fearful, doubtful & completely & utterly wildly terrified? Good. Keep going” – Victoria Erickson
HOW can we control?
It is more difficult to get rid of something when we are in love with it. Wherever we go weddings, birthday parties or any get-togethers we are served with myriad of options. At initial stage it is not easy & actually not required to completely remove sugary food from your diet unless there is any medical emergency. On the contrary all Ideas may seem common or flat if you are not armed with “self determination” to fight this demon of “Sugar craving”.
There is natural tendency “We crave what we can’t have” so don’t just banish it completely. If you have made up your mind then don’t worry because once you control your mind you can conquer your body.
There are some simple but effective ways to curb sugar cravings can be used depending upon the suitability.
Target step by step Honestly judge how severely you are addicted to sugar. Do you consume it hourly, daily or occasionally & mind the quantity also. Say if you are a daily consumer try make it once in three days first. Once you achieve it increase the target days. Don’t forget to reward & appreciate yourself for achieving the targets but not again with an ice-cream or chocolate.
Stop buying or accepting as gift. We have no controls over availability of sugar products in market but we can pretty much ban them at home.
Keep substitutes available We know our body & most of times we also know when these craving attacks ferociously. In my case whenever I get up after nap especially afternoon, I love to nibble on anything which comes my way be it sugar or any carb. But keeping the healthy substitutes ready like salad, fruits or any healthy snacking even a green tea helped me to get rid of it.
Avoid Processed, too salty and fatty food. Instead eat whole grain food & drink lots of water.
Avoid artificial sweetener (Sucralose & saccharine) which leads to more sugar cravings.
Avoid 100% sweets during night time. We need least energy during night hence take something light & early.
Parents and schools should teach kids about repercussions due to excess intake of sugar to have a healthy future. This reminds me of a story I read sometime back:
Probably in 1930s a lady whose young boy was obsessed with eating sweets was concerned about his health. She tried to make him understand with all her tactics but in vain. Hoping he would surely listen to his idol Gandhi ji, they both walked in scorching heat for Gandhiji’s ashram.
She told Gandhiji the way things were & asked to guide his son but after hearing her plea Gandhiji asked them to return after two weeks. Travelling to Gandhiji’s ashram was not an easy nut to crack but both of them came back after two weeks. This time Gandhiji advised the young boy to stop eating sugar & on this boy said that he would try his best to curb it.
Out of curiosity this lady asked Gandhiji that “why he took two weeks to guide something he could do in first meeting”. To this Gandhiji’s reply was “When you came I too was obsessed with sugar & needed to cut off my sugar first to teach your son”.
Love yourself enough. Have a healthy lifestyle in terms of being active, joining some fitness class which motivates us to achieve higher levels of fitness & helps to curb our sugar cravings too.