Q. I have sugar cravings all the time. What can I do about them?
A. We’ve all had sugar cravings, but some people’s are worse than others: The more sugar they eat, the more they crave. Often these people feel as if they’re stuck on a sugar rollercoaster and moderation isn’t an option. Even the thought of giving up sugar makes them want to eat more of it!
People who have low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, usually experience a “high” after they eat sugar.
This is followed by a “low,” when their blood sugar level drops rapidly and they experience a craving for sugar.
The good news is that there are several steps you can take to control your sugar cravings. First of all, avoid processed foods that contain hidden sugar, such as high fructose corn syrup, cane juice, dextrose, and condensed fruit juice sweeteners.
Think of all the good you’ll be doing for yourself by avoiding sugar: It is well documented that sugar can cause weight gain, increase your risk of diabetes, and make you more susceptible to illness by lowering your immunity.
Second, eat a balanced diet with adequate fiber and protein, and eat regularly so that you don’t allow yourself to ever feel “starved.” When ravenously hungry, many people crave sugar.
Be sure to eat three good meals a day plus healthy snacks, and avoid eating carbohydrates that convert quickly to sugar in your body, such as white breads, white potatoes and pastries. To learn more about a diet that will
help you stabilize your blood sugar levels, read “The Zone” by Dr. Barry Sears.
You can further prevent sugar cravings by supplementing your diet with 400 to 600 micrograms of chromium a day, which can affect blood sugar levels by helping insulin do its job.
If you still feel the need for a “sugar fix,” try stevia, an herbal sweetener native to Paraguay. Stevia has been found to be 10 to15 times sweeter than common table sugar. It can be used to replace sugar in cooking, on your oatmeal, or in your tea.
You can purchase stevia at your health food store as a liquid extract or as a powder.
Extensive research has shown that it has no adverse effects. Best of all, it doesn’t contain sugar, so it won’t affect your blood sugar level or cause sugar cravings.
Here’s one of my favorite stevia recipes:
Banana Cream Dessert
In a blender, combine:
- 2 large bananas, preferably frozen
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp stevia extract
- 10 ounces soft tofu
Blend until creamy, and enjoy!
Article was originally printed in the Honolulu Advertiser, honoluluadvertiser.com