If you’ve recently switched to a low carb diet there is a good chance you might have experienced a sugar craving or two. This can be an adjustment period when cutting back all your dietary carbs when starting the diet.
It can also be a challenge if you have a natural sweet tooth. The good news is there are tried and true techniques to ditch the sugar and stay low carb.
It truly may be chemical. Sugar is a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates cause a serotonin release in the brain. This is a feel-good hormone that some say can be addictive. Carbs also release endorphins (think runners high).
According to a study: “Consumption of a carbohydrate-rich meal increases the synthesis and release of brain serotonin (by enhancing the brain uptake of its precursor, tryptophan.” (The involvement of brain serotonin in excessive carbohydrate snacking by obese carbohydrate cravers, J J Wurtman, 1984)
This can influence your body’s desire for sugary foods. Understanding what can cause sugar cravings in a low carb diet is the first step to learning how to beat these cravings. With some planning, and strategy you can outsmart your sugar cravings and keep making progress on your low carb lifestyle.
5 Tips To Keep Sugar Cravings In Check:
Reach For Fruit
Choose lower-carb fruit options such as berries instead of a processed sugary snack. Many fruit choices are diet-friendly, and perfect for a sweet tooth. Make a smoothie or a fruit salad for a sweet treat.
In addition to enjoying some fresh fruit, including apples, pears or apricots, enjoying an all-natural glass of antioxidant-rich not only will satisfy your sugar craving, but will also reduce your muscle and joint pain.
Did you know tart cherries are naturally loaded with powerful anthocyanins. This is a natural pain reliever.
Hit The Gym, Or Home Gym, Or Pavement
Often cravings hit due to boredom more than actual hunger. Go for a walk, a run, or grab a quick workout. Often, when you are done the craving for sugar will have passed. Make this a habit and you will level up your fitness while chaining your lifestyle and habits.
Treat Yourself – But Only A Little
Consider grabbing a sweet treat, in a small portion size. Allow yourself to enjoy a pre-decided reasonable amount of your favorite sweet. The trick here is not letting this become a daily habit. Also, be sure you stick to the predetermined healthy portion size.
If you try this and it is a struggle to stick to your diet, cross it off your list of options. If you stand strong – know you can enjoy some of your favorite items with sugar in small amounts. Dark Chocolate-Covered Coffee Beans may be an excellent choice. Not only are they covered in dark chocolate, you’ll also enjoy the coffee flavor.
Prevention Is The Best Cure
Don’t wait until you are starving to make meal choices. If you are craving sugar it is easy to use control and discipline when you are not also overcome by hunger. Plan ahead. Prevent the chance of falling off your diet. Preparation is your greatest asset here. Use meal prep. Pre-pack snacks and be ready to handle sugar cravings like a pro.
Phone A Friend
Check-in with your support team. A lot of people turn inward when it comes to nutrition and fitness-related struggles. Reach out for support from friends, or your network. You are not the only one working on nutrition goals or fighting sugar cravings. Talking to friends can help you whether your carb cravings like a pro.
Sugar cravings can be beaten with a little planning. Going low carb does not have to equal suffering. You can overcome sugar cravings by making wise food choices, and basic habit changes. You can enjoy sweet foods that are healthy but stay true to your low carb mission.