When you have a sweet tooth, you can't help but look for a dessert as soon as you've polished off your dinner plate. Although a little bit of sugar here and there isn't going to kill you, regular consumption of sugar has many negative effects on your health.
The average American adult consumes 77 grams of sugar a day. This is more than three times the recommended amount for women, and it adds up to about 60 pounds of added sugar each year. Sugar appears just about everywhere we go, from breakfast to snacks to dinner, and the overconsumption of it quickly leads to a laundry list of health problems, from excess weight gain to poor immune function to foggy brain to disrupted gut, just to name a few. Although it may be enjoyable and even temporarily stress-relieving to enjoy dessert, we all need to be careful about how much sugar we're consuming on a regular basis.
I've been a health and fitness coach for nearly a decade, and there have been countless women I work with who have trouble giving up sugar, or at the very least reducing how much sugar they consume. Having a sweet tooth is common (I have one myself!), but there are lots of ways to manage your sweet tooth in a natural, sustainable way. Here are three tips to curb your persistent sugar cravings.
Eat More Protein on a Daily Basis
It doesn't seem like they would be related, but many women actually suffer from intense sugar cravings because they aren't eating enough protein in their daily diet. If you have low amounts of protein in your diet, your blood sugar levels may not be at a healthy level, which can trick your body into thinking it needs a rush of sugar in order to correct the imbalance. Many women who first come to me as a client are eating something like cereal, a croissant, or a bagel for breakfast. These kinds of foods will give you a rush of energy, but it will quickly fade away. This will also result in your glucose levels being erratic, which makes it much easier for you to have strong sugar cravings throughout the day.
However, eating protein regularly is a surefire way to regulate your blood sugar and keep it steady. That's why so many women who live with a protein deficiency are constantly reaching for sweets. The very first thing I work on with my clients who struggle with sugar cravings is incorporating more protein in their diet. Basically, every time you sit down to eat, whether it's a meal or a snack, protein needs to be the main attraction. Couple that with eating every few hours (rather than fasting for many hours), and your blood sugar will be regulated properly in no time, meaning you'll see your sugar cravings slowly start to fade away.
Women suffer from intense sugar cravings because they aren't eating enough protein.
Replace Refined Sugar with Natural Sugar
The kind of sugar that you find in conventional treats is highly processed and causes a major disruption in your system. It's also specifically made to create an addiction so that you keep coming back for more and more. Processed foods are designed that way. Switching to natural forms of sugar helps your body better understand what is natural food, especially what natural sugar is.
It may taste boring at first to give up ice cream for nice cream (frozen banana blended into an ice cream texture, sometimes paired with peanuts, strawberry, vanilla, etc.), but your taste buds will adjust, and you'll learn to love the taste of banana, mango, medjool dates, raw honey, etc. rather than the oftentimes chemically enhanced cookies you find at the local bakery. Once you do significantly reduce the level of refined sugar you're eating, and instead replace it with natural food, you'll crave that refined sugar less and less.
A protein smoothie with medjool dates is a great alternative to cereal or toast.
Eat Something Sweet in the Morning
Having a piece of fruit or something naturally sweet in the morning can help you stave off sugar cravings for the rest of the day, especially if you're eating a satisfying breakfast that doesn't leave you feeling peckish an hour later. A protein smoothie with medjool dates is a great alternative to cereal or toast—plus, that will make it less likely for you to crave a cookie after lunch.
Sugar cravings can sometimes feel like they're the hardest thing to overcome, and while it's certainly not easy, it's worth the effort. There are far too many negative effects of consuming refined sugar on a regular basis, so it's not just about your physique or the number on the scale. Your health depends on it.