Sugar cravings are extremely common among women. In fact, up to 97% of women and 68% of men report experiencing some sort of food craving, including cravings for sugar. Those experiencing a sugar craving feel a strong urge to eat something sweet and can find it difficult to control themselves around food. This can lead to binge eating or over-consuming calories, sometimes on a regular basis. But there are things you can do to help yourself fight the sugar cravings; in fact, here’s a list of foods can help you.
When most people feel sugar cravings, they reach for high-fat, high-sugar foods like chocolate. However, swapping out the junk food for some fruit when you feel like something sugary could give you the sweet hit you need and stop your craving in its tracks. To make sure it hits the spot, eat fruits that are slightly higher in sugar like mangoes or grapes.
Berries are an excellent, nutritious choice for stopping sugar cravings.
They taste sweet, but their high fiber content means they are actually quite low in sugar. This could make them a great choice if you think your sugar cravings are linked to habit, rather than hunger. Additionally, berries are rich in plant compounds and have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Chocolate is one of the most commonly reported foods people eat when they crave sweets. This is especially true for women. If you find yourself craving chocolate, you can make a healthier choice by choosing dark chocolate which contains more than 70% cocoa. It also contains healthy plant compounds known as polyphenols. Studies show that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of these polyphenols may help improve markers of heart health.
Chia seeds are a good source of many important nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, soluble dietary fiber and some healthy plant compounds. In fact, soluble fiber accounts for around 40% of chia seeds.
This sort of fiber readily absorbs water and swells up to form a jelly-like substance in your gut, which may help keep you feeling fuller for longer and prevent sugar cravings.
Legumes like lentils, beans and chickpeas are good sources of protein and fiber. Including them in your diet could help curb hunger, leaving you less likely to get a craving.
Yogurt is a healthy snack that’s high in protein and rich in calcium.
Studies have suggested that yogurt could be a good snack to help regulate your appetite and control your cravings. A study found that healthy-weight women who had high-protein Greek yogurt for an afternoon snack were less hungry and ate less later in the day, compared to those who had a lower-protein snack or no snack at all. The healthiest choice for yogurt is one that contains live cultures and is free of added sugar.
Dates are the dried fruit of the date palm tree. They are highly nutritious and very sweet. Even though they have been dried, they are a great source of fiber, potassium, iron and beneficial plant compounds. You could even try pairing them with nuts like almonds for a sweet and crunchy treat.
However, remember that dates are very sweet, so stick to one portion at a time, or about three dates.
Sweet potatoes are nutritious, sweet and very filling. They contain mostly carbs but also fiber and a number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. Some people get sugar cravings because they aren’t eating enough throughout the day. Including a carb source like sweet potatoes in your meals can combat this by adding calories to your meals and making them more balanced, all while providing you the sweet taste you’re craving.
Meat, Poultry and Fish
Including a source of protein like meat, poultry or fish in your meals may help prevent sugar cravings. In fact, if you are trying to lose weight, eating adequate amounts of protein may be very important for managing your food intake, cravings and weight.
If you are craving something sweet and need a snack to quickly nip it in the bud, a smoothie can be a great option. The sweetness of the fruit combined with the filling effects of yogurt can satisfy your need for something sweet, all while providing lots of beneficial nutrients. Make sure you use the whole fruit, not just the juice, so you can retain the healthy fiber.
Prunes are dried plums. Like dates, they’re full of fiber and nutrients and taste very sweet. This means you can reach for them as a healthy alternative to candy when you just have to have some sugar. Their high fiber content and naturally occurring sorbitol also mean they may help relieve constipation. Sorbitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that tastes sweet but is absorbed slowly in your gut.
Eggs are another high-protein food that may help keep your appetite and cravings in check. Research has shown that having a high-protein breakfast like eggs may reduce hunger and help people eat less throughout the day. This may be partly because a high-protein breakfast suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and increases some of the hormones that make you feel full, including peptide and glucagon-like peptide-1.
Trail mix is the name often given to a snack containing dried fruit and nuts.
The exact combination of ingredients can vary, but trail mix can make a great choice if you are craving something sweet. The sweetness of the dried fruit can help halt your sugar cravings, and it’s also a great way to get some nuts into your diet. Nuts contain healthy fats, proteins, fiber and plant compounds. Eating them has been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.
Fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut are sources of beneficial bacteria. The beneficial bacteria found in these foods may help maintain the balance of “good” bacteria in your gut and reduce the number of disease-causing bacteria. The bacteria in your gut are also linked to many of your body’s processes and can “talk” to your brain through the compounds and hormones they produce.This makes it possible for your gut bacteria to influence your food intake in a number of ways. Some of these compounds may even mimic hunger or fullness hormones in your body, influencing your appetite and food cravings
Whole grains are high in fiber and contain nutrients including B vitamins, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese and selenium. Eating whole grains has been linked to a longer, healthier life, and their high fiber content also means they may help you feel full. Whole grains can also promote the growth of beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria, Lactobacilli and Bacteroidetes in your gut.
Making sure you are eating enough and including foods like whole grains in your diet will help keep you full and may help prevent sugar cravings.