If you find that munching on sugary snacks leaves you craving more sugary snacks, you’re not alone. Eating lots of simple carbohydrates without proteins or fats quickly satisfies hunger and gives you a short-term energy boost, but also quickly leaves you hungry again and craving more. Carbohydrates stimulate dopamine in the brain, the feel-good chemical. The taste of sugar releases endorphins that offer us a natural “high.” That’s why craving sugar can feel like an addiction.
The American Diabetes Association suggests replacing refined carbohydrates and added sugars with whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. But sometimes, certain food or beverages call for sugar. Living with diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t satisfy your sweet tooth. People with diabetes can consume sugar, but it’s best when it occurs naturally like in whole fruits.
When you have diabetes, your body does not produce the adequate insulin needed to maintain steady blood sugars and has trouble absorbing simple carbohydrates. Problems with insulin can cause sugar to build up in your blood. Carbohydrates convert into glucose or energy for the body so they have the greatest impact on blood sugars. That’s why it’s important to be an informed consumer and always practice portion control.
If you tend to binge on sugar, don’t buy it for your home.
Tips on Curbing Cravings
Reach for fruit. Keep seasonal fruit in the kitchen for when sugar cravings hit. You’ll get that sweetness satisfaction with additional fiber and nutrients.
Grab some gum. Try chewing a stick of sugar-free gum. Research has shown that it can reduce food cravings.
Get up and move. When sugar is on the brain, get up and go for a walk. It can help take your mind off what you’re craving and bring exercise into your day.
Eat regularly. You may choose more sugary foods if you wait too long between meals. Choose protein or fiber-rich foods like whole grains, lean meats and produce.
Take a hot shower. The minute a craving hits, step in the shower with the temperature as hot as you can stand. Let the water run for 5-10 minutes on your back and shoulders. Afterward, you’ll feel a sense of relief.
Stretch. Yoga stretches can ease tension and stress in the body, while helping to improve mindful eating habits.
As you cut out sugar, keep an eye on your glucose readings. Track any changes in blood sugar and how you feel. If you have any questions or concerns, email your Care Team Member for guidance.