Six simple tricks to help you kick those cravings to the curb

We all love a sweet treat. But too much sugar can have a big impact on our health and wellbeing.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians consume an average of 60 grams of free (mostly added) sugars per day. That’s equivalent to about 14 teaspoons of white sugar.

However, there’s increasing evidence that high intake of free sugars is associated with weight gain, which can lead to chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

The World Health Organisation recommends adults and children reduce their sugar intake to less than 10% of their total energy intake (about 12 teaspoons of sugar), or less than 5% (about 6 teaspoons of sugar) for the greatest health benefits.

If you want to beat sugar cravings and cut down your sugar intake to improve your health and wellbeing, here are six simple tricks to help you kick those cravings to the curb.

Sugary treats getting you down? Beat #sugar #cravings with some simple tips and tricks. #health #wellness Click To Tweet

 

1. Eat a protein-packed breakfast

If you want to feel less reliant on a sugar hit to get you through the day, start with a solid breakfast.

High-protein breakfasts have been shown to reduce cravings, so ditch your cereal for a high-protein breakfast smoothie or some poached eggs on toast.

According to CSIRO scientist and co-author of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing DietProfessor Manny Noakes, increasing protein at breakfast may help control what you eat later in the day.

“If you find it difficult to control what you eat, a redistribution of protein toward breakfast may be the answer to reducing your waistline without leaving you ravenously hungry and craving unhealthy foods,” Professor Noakes says.

Want to be less reliant on a sugar hit to get through the day? Start with a solid breakfast. #health #beatsugarcravings Click To Tweet

 

2. Change your environment

It might sound simple, but when you crave sweets try walking away or doing something to change your environment and distract yourself.

Healthy Food Guide Nutritionist Claire Turnbull says many of us eat sweet foods out of habit or as a way of managing our emotions.

“This is more of a learned behaviour than anything else, but we often confuse it with a physical craving,” she says on the Healthy Food Guide website.

“When you’re craving a snack that you know you don’t need, read a book, phone a friend or make a pot of tea. You could even write down your thoughts and feelings. If it’s still light, go outside for 10 minutes or take a walk around the block.”

Claire Turnbull, Nutritionist

 

When you crave sweets, try walking away or doing something to change your environment and distract yourself. #sugar #health #wellness Click To Tweet

 

3. Manage stress levels

High-stress levels can also lead to sugar cravings. A number of studies have shown that physical or emotional stress leads to an increased intake of food high in fat, sugar, or both.

Eating fat and sugar-filled foods seems to have a feedback effect in the brain that counteracts stress. And this may be why people crave those types of foods when stressed.

But there are other ways to manage stress without resorting to chocolate.

Try a few minutes of meditation or deep breathing, call a friend or family member, take a hot bath, or make a cup of tea.

Another way to combat stress and emotions is to exercise regularly. Exercise releases chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. It may even give you more energy, which is often part of the reason for having sugar cravings in the first place.

High stress levels can lead to #sugar #cravings. Try exercise to improve your mood instead of reaching for a chocolate bar. #health Click To Tweet

 

Remove temptations such as creamy cupcakes to curb sugar cravings

4. Remove temptation

Your home or work environment can have a big effect on your eating behaviour.

Resisting a block of chocolate or packet of biscuits that’s calling out to you from the pantry (or your desk drawer) every day is much harder than leaving it out of your grocery basket in the first place.

By making a conscious choice to remove sugary treats from your home and workplace, you’ll feel less compelled to eat them.

Claire Turnbull also suggests packing healthy snacks to take to work.

“You’ll be less likely to grab an oversized cookie or muffin at morning tea for lack of other options,” she says.

Remove temptations to reduce #cravings for sugary treats and pack some healthy snacks instead. #sugar #health #diet Click To Tweet

 

5. Don’t skip meals

If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be tempted to skip meals. But skipping meals can actually have the opposite effect.

Going for long periods without food may cause your blood sugar levels to drop, which will promote hunger. And when you’re hungry you’re more likely to reach for sugary foods.

According to research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, skipping meals might cause you to favour high-calorie foods and therefore take in more calories overall.

If you want to keep #sugar #cravings in check, don’t skip meals. #health #nutrition #diet Click To Tweet

 

Sometimes we confuse hunger for thirst. Try a glass of water to help beat sugar cravings.

6. Stay hydrated

Dehydration is linked to sugar cravings because thirst can often be confused with hunger.

So before snacking, try drinking a glass of water first. Add a slice of lemon to your water to improve the taste if you need to, but avoid reaching for sugary drinks instead.

Drinking water can also improve alertness and the ability to concentrate. This can help your willpower to remain strong and fight the cravings.

Thirst can often be confused with hunger. Before grabbing a sugary snack, try drinking a glass of water. #health #nutrition #diet Click To Tweet

 

Over to you. Have you tried any of these tips to beat sugar cravings? What works for you?

 

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