When trying to give up sugar and refined carbohydrates, the most common saboteur to success is an inability to overcome the vicious cravings that often rear their ugly heads on the first few ‘sugar-free’ days. Here are a few of my favourite tips to keep those pesky critters at bay:
This is a true star amino acid. Glutamine helps balance blood sugar and reduces your sugar cravings. Glutamine is your secret weapon against carbohydrate cravings. This wonderful amino acid also benefits gut health, restoration and a many other crucial bodily functions. It can be found in capsules or (preferably) powder, which blends easily into your protein shake or water. In times of intense cravings, a little on the tongue will efficiently and effectively ease symptoms.
Protein halts your neuronal reward system and dampens the effects of the brain chemicals that make you feel good and motivate you to get more food, even when no longer hungry. When protein intake is low, cravings take over and rive the body to search for a quick fix. Protein-rich, nutritious foods include grass-fed beef, wild fish, free-range organic chicken, barnyard eggs, and non-dairy, non-soy plant or animal protein powders.
Drink up. Does that half-eaten pint of butter pecan become your siren call at 11 p.m.? It would be smart not to have potential sugar busting foods in your home, but it is equally smart to be armed should the cravings strike anyway. One study at the University of Washington found just eight ounces of water completely curbed nighttime cravings for everyone.
4. Sour foods.
When you retrain your taste buds, you become more sensitive to the taste of sweet but also begin to appreciate the nuances of other tastes and flavors like sour foods. Sour dill pickles may become your new go-to snack
Another way to ditch your sugar addiction is to focus instead on savory, salty or spicy flavors such as basil and mineral-rich salts. One of my favorites is slow-roasted almonds with rosemary and sea salt. Crunchy decadence that can go up against the most diehard of a sweet tooth!
6. Spicy foods.
Spice things up with warm and hot foods and condiments. Cinnamon reduces blood glucose levels because it slows stomach emptying and makes you feel full faster. You only need about a teaspoon daily to do the trick. Make sure it is fresh and organic since cinnamon’s polyphenols and active ingredients degrade over time. Hot peppers and spicy foods help satiate and provide a great alternative to sweet.
7. Add fiber.
Among its benefits, dietary fiber keeps you full on fewer calories, steadies blood sugar levels, and dials down cravings. Fiber also keeps your gut bacteria happy and your digestive system humming along. Ideally you want to aim to get 50 grams of fiber from high-quality food into your meals on a daily basis. A simple way to balance blood sugar and eat less during your subsequent meal is to stir a teaspoon or two of freshly ground flaxseed or a high-quality fiber supplement into a tall glass of filtered water 30 – 60 minutes before your meal.