For those with a sweet tooth, it is a constant struggle to stay away from irresistible and gorgeous looking sweet treats to keep a check on weight gain. It is not always about having low self-control but rather having to deal with uncontrollable sweet cravings that block any other trail of thought. When sugar cravings kick in, diet discipline goes right out of the window, as most of us give in and indulge. As guilty as it may make us feel, it almost seems impossible to beat sugar cravings.
Excessive sugar cravings are a sign that your body is deficient in trace minerals like zinc, magnesium, chromium and vanadium that are involved in glucose metabolism. Sugary treats are also mood enhancers because they cause dopamine to be released in the brain which brings about a pleasurable feeling. Sugar is highly addictive, as your brain demands more of it, making you crave more. There are a few simple tricks which can help you tide over those vulnerable moments. Here’s what you need to do.
1. Up these ingredients in your diet: Increase the intake of yoghurt, chickpeas, almonds, oatmeal, asparagus, cheese, whole grains, mushrooms, soy beans, spinach, oat bran and brown rice. They are known to cut down sugar cravings.
2. Eat something spicy or with a strong flavour: Strong odours from pepper, butter, lemon or onion will tell your hypothalamus to take fewer sweets for the next few hours.
Strong odours from pepper, lemon or red chillies can curb cravings. Photo Credit: Istock
3. Choose your food rightly: Don’t replace sweets with too much of meat or butter as that will make the situation worse. Excessive consumption meat or buttery treats increase the craving for sugar.
4. Scent of vanilla: Inhaling the sweet scent of vanilla calms down one’s sugar appetite. Not only smelling the essential oil but also massaging it on your neck and arms lowers these cravings. Tip: Mix 25 drops of vanilla oil in about one glass of water and keep ready. Apply liberally whenever cravings strike. It is better to smell like a cake than look like one!
5. Ayurvedic herbs: Ayurvedic herbs like Gurmar (Gymnema) can help. While making tea, add to it a few leaves of Gurmar herb. The phytonutrients present in the herb form a coating on your taste buds so that sugar molecules cannot react with them. The result? Sweet things will taste far less sweet.
6. Peanut butter: Another quick fix for addressing your sugar craving is to have a tiny bit of peanut butter. Your urge to have a sweet treat will be gone within minutes.
Giving up sugar is definitely not an easy task, so don’t try to skip it suddenly. You will find yourself having to deal with sugar cravings more often. Instead, try cutting down on sweet treats, switching to naturally sweet ingredients like fruits rather than cupcakes, doughnuts and other sinful sweets. With time, your craving for sugary treats will gradually die down.