There have been some very interesting and informative movies, television programs and books written over the past few years on the negative impact of sugar on our health. This has prompted me to write this week about the options available to help overcome sugar cravings or what so often is described as a ‘sweet tooth’.
Sugar cravings are more than a lack of will power. There is in fact a physiological reason why we crave sugar. It is surprising just how many people have this compelling desire for high carbohydrate and high sugar foods. These desires involve similar mechanisms engaged by opiates and the pain/pleasure centre of the brain.
Many would not realise, when we frequently eat sugary foods we can often be setting up a cycle which leads to sugar cravings which we then struggle to resist and then becomes an addiction. The answer to overcoming this sugar addiction is to break this sugar cycle and quell these sugar cravings. Easier said than done I can hear you say, however once we have overcome these sugar cravings for a reasonable period of time, our body will revert back to what is normal.
The good news is there are a range of therapeutic herbs and minerals which may help us overcome these sugar cravings. One of the most interesting is Gymnema. The leaf of this plant contains gymnemic acids which believe it or not, when placed on the tongue impedes our ability to taste the sweetness of the sugars. It is believed to be helpful in avoiding sugar cravings and deplete the desire for high sugar foods. In fact it is also thought, this herb when ingested, blocks intestinal absorption of sugar which then prevents blood sugar from increasing after eating sugar.
Who would have thought Cinnamon the spice we all know so well could help with sugar cravings. Cinnamon is understood to stabilize blood glucose levels, reducing insulin spikes particularly after meals. Insulin spikes often lead to consuming more sugar which is what we don’t want.
Then we have the herb Fenugreek which is also believed to regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin levels. Fenugreek appears to slow down sugar absorption whilst stimulating insulin production. Because Fenugreek improves glucose control there is also a noticeable decrease in sugar cravings.
Chromium is the other supplement which works well when it comes to sugar cravings. I witnessed the effectiveness of Chromium first hand many years ago when I gave it to my 8 year old son. For years despite being fed a healthy diet like the rest of the family, he was obsessed with sugar. If there was sugar in the house he would pull the pantry apart to find it!! I began to realise this was more than just a young boy’s need for a few sweet treats. Within a few days of supplementing with Chromium these sugar cravings completely disappeared and never returned.
For some, to achieve the best results it is often better to include all of the above ingredients in one supplement. For others, just taking Chromium may be enough to overcome sugar cravings.
To avoid these cravings it is also important to begin your day with some protein - maybe a protein shake or eggs. It is best to avoid high carb foods such as cereals (especially sugary cereals) and toast. Remember the more carbs/sugar you eat the more you will want. Eating grains for breakfast and lunch, particularly without protein, is setting you up for a mid-afternoon crash where you start to feel really fatigued and are compelled to eat a high carb/high sugar snack. It is always important to include some protein in each meal or snack. Make sure you eat every 3 hours to avoid blood sugar drops.
If you want to know more about addressing sugar cravings including changing your diet call to see Bev and the team at Go Vita, Your Health Shop at 5 North St, Batemans Bay or phone on 0244729737. Don’t forget to tune into Bev on 2EC every Wednesday at 12.30pm on Go Get Healthy.