Sugar cravings when beginning any diet but especially a low-carb diet can be hard. Your body craves sugar, or glucose to be more precise. It is where energy comes from. So when you cut off the main source of glucose in the form of carbohydrates, expect some rocky roads.
Sugar is everywhere you look and it pops up in some surprising places. With so much sugar around it is no wonder that sugar cravings present a problem. Did you know that most whole grain bread has at least one form of sugar in them? We have a national sweet tooth epidemic. Even if you don't eat a lot of sugary treats you may experience cravings in the first few weeks of a low-carb diet. So many 'healthy’ low-carb foods have hidden sugars in them. You and your body may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Sugar Cravings: The Problem The problem with sugar is that your blood sugar is tied into your energy levels and general health. When your blood sugar is too low, you will experience intense cravings. High blood sugar is a result of eating high-sugar meals. When you eat concentrated sugar, your blood sugar rises to high levels. Your pancreas thinks there is something wrong and then it secretes insulin to lower the blood sugar. As this happens, problems form as your pancreas becomes less able to produce insulin.
Sugar Cravings: Solutions Good news, getting started on a low-carb diet plan can put a stop to this cycle. This doesn't mean that sugar cravings go away completely. Sugar products are everywhere and the temptation is sometimes hard to fight.
The best way to approach sugar cravings is with planning. By maintaining a balance of protein, fat, and fiber in your daily diet you prevent blood sugar drops leading to cravings. Also, do not go too long between meals without eating. Snacks are an important part of keeping your blood sugar stable. Handy snacks like cheese, nuts, seeds and boiled eggs are good for controlling blood sugar without turning to sweets.
Sugar cravings can also be a sign of a nutritional deficiency. When you are low on magnesium, you will crave chocolate and other sweets. Zinc and chromium can also stave off sugar cravings. If you aren't taking a good multivitamin supplement with these minerals, start immediately. If you are and you are still experiencing cravings, consider trying more supplements of these nutrients.
Another tactic is to brush your teeth. Many low-carb dieters find that brushing their teeth or using melt-away breath strips helps with cravings. Both methods will numb your mouth and prevent you from wanting to eat. Drinking two large glasses of water can also help cut cravings. If your stomach is full, then you'll be less likely to reach for a sugary treat.
Sometimes out of sight, out of mind is the best approach. If you find yourself overcome with cravings while you are at home, get outside and take a walk. The distraction will have you forgetting your sugar craving in no time. Calling a friend for support or logging into a low-carb support forum can also help. It is always great to learn how others work the same problem you are working.
Having a low-carb version of your favorite treat is another good idea. You are less likely to feel deprived if you can have a satisfying low carb treat. There are a wide variety of low-carb products available on the market that can beat your sweet tooth. Low-carb yogurt, chocolate, ice cream and candy can all help you stay on the low-carb plan and still get something sweet to eat.
Sugar cravings are a reality of following the low-carb plan! The previous tips will help you overcome them and stay committed to your weight loss efforts. It is easier than you think.
Sara Dawson is the managing partner at Proven Rapid Weight Loss, a Fischel Group Company. Her personal journey going from ‘chubby’ and unhealthy to thin and healthy is one that anyone who suffers from being overweight or in poor health, or both should know. Sara encourages you to visit her Proven Rapid Weight Loss Blog where she shares her story along with tips and ideas for healthy weight loss.
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