It is important to resist sweet cravings when you have diabetes. Indulging in too many sweets can lead to fluctuating blood sugar levels and other health problems. Learn how to combat sweet cravings and still feel satisfied about what you eat.
- Many people with diabetes believe they have stronger sweet cravings than anyone else. There is little evidence to support this opinion. Food cravings are really a psychological phenomenon. Old habits can be difficult to break and can make you crave foods you should avoid. A history of poor eating patterns may even contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. The key is to learn healthier eating patterns for optimum well-being.
- Consider the times when your sweet cravings are the strongest. Sometimes people use food to feel better when they are stressed or reward themselves with food after a long day. People might also associate certain foods with special events. When you feel these emotions, sweet cravings might be triggered. Try delaying your response to the cravings. Waiting for just 20 minutes can help you fight cravings. Engage in exercise or focus on something else to distract you from the cravings. If you still have sweet cravings, try delicious sugar-free treats. Sugar-free candy can be consumed in moderation to help you get past sweet cravings you might feel after a meal. Small amounts of sugary desserts are allowed when factored into your total carbohydrates per meal.
- A sugar-free treat at social gatherings or when you feel hungry helps but it is not the ultimate solution. These foods often have limited nutritional value and contain calories. Your goal is to get rid of sweet cravings and consume a healthier diet. Table sugar and high fructose corn sugar should be limited or avoided. They negatively affect your metabolism, inflammatory markers and hormones and limit your energy. Increased sugar intake can lead to weight gain, fatigue and bone loss as well as accelerated aging, poor sleep and depression. Sugar cravings are much like any other addiction. It is important to restrict and eliminate sugary foods from your daily diet.
- One way to combat sweet cravings it to get enough protein. People can mistake the need for protein by focusing on sweets, starches and breads. Include more protein in your daily diet such as lean meats, fish and black beans. Consuming more protein can help to eliminate the pangs to grab an unhealthy snack. Eat three main meals and at least two snacks each day. Eating smaller meals more frequently can help you ward off the urge for junk food. Include vegetables, fruits and whole grain in your diet to feel better and reduce your hunger throughout the day.
- Discuss sweet cravings with your doctor. Low thyroid activity can contribute to sugar cravings. Signs of low thyroid function include fatigue, weight gain, brain fog and dry skin as well as hair loss, constipation and cold hands and feet. A doctor can order a blood test to check your thyroid function. Low levels of zinc and selenium can affect your thyroid function. Talk to your health care team about healthy eating habits and taking certain supplements. People with diabetes should monitor their blood sugars when they take supplements.
- Though it might sound like a simple approach, keep sweet goodies out of your way. Out of sight often means out of mind. Avoid keeping sweet things in your desk as work or within reach in the kitchen. Stock plenty of healthy snacks at home and work so you always have something good to nibble on. Dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa content is an occasional indulgence you can enjoy.
- Learn to appreciate the taste of natural and unsweetened foods. Add spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg to sweeten your oatmeal or cup of tea. Minimize the use of artificial sweeteners, which can sometimes increase your cravings. Consider using natural sweeteners such as Stevia.
- Develop a healthy lifestyle that makes you want to eliminate sugar from your daily diet. Exercise for at least a half hour, five times a week. Stock your pantry and refrigerator with healthy foods. Learn a healthier lifestyle and soon you will not want to return to your old bad habits.
Sweet cravings are a learned behavior you can control. Choose healthy snacks, exercise regularly and learn how to combat sugar cravings. Your health will improve and you’ll have more energy to enjoy the finer things in life.