3pm sugar craving. After dinner dessert desire. Low energy sugar hit. The list goes on. Whatever your justification for having that sugary treat is, you should reconsider it. It's just not good for you.
The more sugar you eat, the more you crave; sugar gives you an initial high, and then you crash and crave more, and so on. It's a vicious cycle.
Practical tips to combat those cravings
Eat regularly to keep blood sugar levels stable. This will help to avoid feeling the need for a sugar hit.
Eat whole foods and chew well to bring out the natural flavour and sweetness of foods. Complex carbs like grains, legumes and vegetables become sweeter the more they are chewed.
Add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom to flavour foods naturally.
Choose alternatives like fruit and treats sweetened with honey, agave, maple syrup, rice syrup, barley malt and stevia, but eat in moderation as they are still high in natural sugar.
Eat less salt as salty foods increase cravings for sugary foods.
Eat naturally sweet vegetables like sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, and beetroot. Raw carrots have been shown to be particularly helpful with sugar cravings.
Do a detox to help your body to remember what it should be eating.
Think about why you want sugar and note if the reasons are emotional. For example, if you are in the habit of cheering yourself up with a sugary treat, try to find an alternative that makes you feel good, like taking a bath, listening to music or exercising.
Pay attention to how you feel when you don't have sugar for a few days. Notice the lift in energy and absence of blood sugar lows or 'hanger' (angry-hunger). This feeling alone should demonstrate that you are much better off without the sweet white stuff.
If you're finding it really tough to go without sugar, supplements containing chromium, manganese, zinc, and magnesium can be helpful. For very strong sugar cravings, l-glutamine can be added.