Sugar is extremely damaging for your teeth, leading to harmful cavities and gum disease. Sugar is also incredibly damaging to your overall health as it increases the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Thus, consuming less sugar can benefit your health greatly, and cutting down on sugar will help you keep your teeth and body in a tip top healthy condition. But if only doing so were so simple! It can be difficult to avoid sugar as it is added to so much food – from breads and yogurts to sweets, cakes, juices and sauces, sugar is everywhere!
What’s more, eating more sugar only makes you crave even more sugar. Eating sugary foods does not satisfy your body, it only provides short-term satisfaction and leaves you craving your next sugar fix for a pick-me-up. Sugar cravings can be difficult to break and sugar and processed foods can even be as addictive as heroine and cocaine! This is because eating sugar produces dopamine in the same way that drugs do. When sugar’s effects wear off and dopamine drops, you crave sugar to feel good again.
So how do you break this cycle of addiction?
1) Go cold turkey
One way to stop sugar cravings is by going cold turkey and cutting out all sugar from your diet. Avoid all processed food and sugar and you could help stop cravings in a few days. This can be difficult, however, so try a few of these methods first if this proves too difficult to cut sugar and reduce cravings gradually…
2) Eat the right foods
Start fighting your sugar cravings by eating the right foods. Start to replace sugar in your diet for leafy greens, fermented foods and naturally sweet foods and keep them handy when craving sugar so that you can reach for them over something sugary. If you’re struggling to fight your sugar craving, try combining the sugary treat with a healthy food, such as chocolate and banana, or chocolate chips with nuts. This way, you’ll satisfy your craving and get some healthy nutrients too.
Avoid processed foods and add more leafy greens to your diet such as kale and spinach. Greens are packed with nutritious vitamins and minerals to help your body revitalise the vitamins and minerals your body needs that are depleted by sugar. Greens cut sugar cravings and boost energy over the long-term, unlike sugar which only boosts energy in the short term, leaving you craving more sugar once energy levels dip a short time later.
Eating fermented foods is one of the best ways to eliminate cravings and control your desire for sugar. Bad bacteria thrive on sugar and make us crave it, so the more sugar we eat the more bad bacteria we have and the cycle continues. Fermented foods, however, contain probiotics which eat up sugar and reduce bad bacteria. Foods such as sauerkraut balance bacteria in the gut which stops cravings.
Naturally Sweet Foods
Eating naturally sweet foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, berries, apples, almonds, coconuts, dates and bananas can satisfy your sweet tooth without doing the damage that sugar and processed foods do to your teeth and body. Sweet fruits, vegetables and nuts are naturally sweet and healthy and are packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals to help keep you satisfied for longer and kick your cravings.
3) Meal plan
When eating, think about what you’re eating and when. Eat regularly and don’t wait too long between meals as waiting too long makes you reach for sugary foods to quell your hunger. It is best to eat every 3-5 hours to keep your blood sugar stable and eat several small healthy meals throughout the day instead of three large meals. This will help you avoid sugar dips and reduce cravings. Planning these meals carefully will also help to stop cravings as you can make sure your next meal is sugar-free. Eating what you plan to eat will prevent you from turning to sugar when you need something to eat but don’t know what to eat.
4) Boost Serotonin and Dopamine naturally
We crave sugar because the taste of sugar releases endorphins and a feel-good brain chemicals called serotonin and dopamine that give us a natural high. Serotonin and dopamine levels drop and we want more sugar to feel good again. So, instead of turning to sugar to feel good, boost serotonin and dopamine naturally. Serotonin and dopamine are happiness hormones which can be raised through a healthy diet, regular exercise and getting enough sleep. Boosting serotonin and dopamine through these natural methods will help reduce cravings through focusing on a healthy happy body, and the more serotonin and dopamine you get from these natural methods, the less you’ll crave it from sugar.
5) Reduce stress
You may turn to sugar when you’re feeling stressed. Stress creates a hormone called cortisol which increases blood sugar which in turn damages the adrenal glands and enhances sugar cravings. Hence, by reducing stress, you can reduce your cravings. Try meditation to reduce stress and ward off cravings to help you relax and focus on something other than sugar. Taking a walk can also help you reduce stress and take your mind off the craving. Regular exercise, healthy diet and adequate sleep also all help reduce stress, so whatever helps you de-stress, give it a go to reduce your cravings.
Stop your sugar cravings today!
Hopefully some of these tactics will help you reduce your sugar cravings. From eating the right foods to reducing stress, experiment these methods to see what works effectively and try multiple different things to find the best way of managing your cravings. Get one step closer to kicking your sugar cravings today for healthier teeth and a happier body.
If you think your teeth are due a check-up then we are always ready to welcome you at Bright & White Dental Spa.