Feeling out of control around sweets? Here’s how to beat sugar cravings and feel more energetic with the Mediterranean diet.
Do you feel constant cravings for sugar, have trouble closing the box of cookies, or always feel like you want just one more sweet treat? Wondering how to beat sweet cravings?
A little bit of sugar, sweets, and desserts can all be part of a healthy diet. However, too much sugar can negatively impact your blood sugar levels, weight, teeth, and heart health.
There are several key reasons you might be craving more sugar. Stick around to get answers to questions like what is your body lacking when you crave sugar, how does sugar impact our health, and how to stop craving sweets. The Mediterranean diet is one of the best ways to curb sugar cravings while enjoying your meals and feeling satisfied.
Why Do You Crave Sugar?
Here are a few common reasons you might be craving more sugar;
- You’re tired and haven’t gotten enough sleep
- Your diet isn’t well-balanced
- You’re stressed
- You aren’t eating enough
- You aren’t spacing out your meals throughout the day
- You aren’t consuming enough protein
How Much Sugar Is Too Much?
Sugar is added to so many food products, even ones you don’t expect. Most processed foods and restaurant meals contain added sugars – even when the meal doesn’t taste sweet. In fact, the average American consumes about 20 teaspoons of sugar every day.
But how much sugar is too much? The American Heart Association recommends that added sugars should be limited to 6% of total calories or about 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
Reading ingredients on products and nutrition labels is one of the best ways to check for added sugar. Within the Total Carbohydrate section on Nutrition Facts labels there is now an Added Sugar section. Get in the habit of checking the label for added sugar and choosing products with less added sugar.
What’s The Big Deal About Sugar?
So you’re aware that your sugar consumption is high, and that it’s important not to consume too much… but what’s the big deal?
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that is digested quickly, giving us a boost of fast-acting energy. Because sugar is digested quickly, it can spike your blood sugar.
Consistently elevated blood sugar levels contribute to chronic inflammation and increased risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
How To Curb Sugar Cravings
Let’s dive into five strategies on how to beat sugar cravings. Learning more about how to beat sugar cravings is a great first step to reducing your risk of chronic health conditions. Small, consistent changes can make a big impact over the long-term. Here are our top tips to beat those sugar cravings:
1. Manage Your Stress
Stress raises your cortisol levels which can lead to increased sugar cravings and altered mood. Therefore, managing stress levels is key to handling your sugar cravings.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Your body won’t fight for quick sugary energy when you get quality sleep consistently. This will help you curb sugar cravings. Beatings sugar cravings is a cycle that will also help you sleep better, in turn reducing your cravings more.
3. Limit Exposure
Being near sugary foods could increase your cravings. Try to limit exposure to sweet foods, and sugary snacks. Keep a plate of sliced fruit in your refrigerator instead. Try to avoid certain triggers that might increase your craving. For instance, when shopping, avoid the section with sweet items.
4. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can be misinterpreted as sugar cravings. This can lead to snacking when you aren’t actually hungry. Keep a water bottle with you, or try adding lemon to your water to encourage you to stay hydrated throughout the day.
5. Consume A Balanced Diet
Your body needs enough nutrients to grow, fight diseases, and function properly. Each macronutrient (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) supports your body in a different way. Building your meals with a balance of these three macronutrients will help you feel satisfied, reducing sugar cravings.
If you’re wondering what to eat when craving sugar, the Mediterranean diet is a great place to start. Following the recommendations of the Mediterranean diet will help you build nutrient-dense meals, in turn helping your body function optimally. By consuming enough protein, fiber, healthy fats, and whole grains, you will be more satisfied and energized.
How To Beat Sugar Cravings At Night
What if you have a sweet tooth in the evening? The same steps as above apply to all types of sugar cravings and will help you feel more under control, even at the end of the day. A big factor for sugar cravings at night comes from snacking all day long without actually sitting down to have a balanced meal. Slowing down to have a mindful meal with enough protein, veggies, and healthy fats will help curb those evening cravings.
How To Beat Sugar Cravings With The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is a healthy-eating plan that can help you beat sugar cravings. This delicious and nutritious diet & lifestyle is rich in flavorful ingredients, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and heart-healthy foods.
The Mediterranean diet is based on traditional foods and cooking methods used in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
Which Foods Belong To The Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is rich in plant foods and low in meat and animal products, but it does not eliminate meat products. Consider a mix of fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables and fruits. Prioritizing these types of foods will help you beat sweet cravings.
Here some key foods found in the Mediterranean diet:
- Fruits: bananas, apples, grapes, strawberries, peaches, melons, and oranges
- Vegetables: tomatoes, spinach, cucumbers, turnips, and sweet potatoes
- Legumes: pulses, peanuts, beans
- Whole grains: brown rice, oats, buckwheat, corn, and pasta
Stock your pantry with these 7 staples to help you get started following the Mediterranean diet!
Where To Learn More About The Mediterranean Diet
Sugar cravings can be hard to manage, but with a few tips and tricks, you’ll be feeling more satisfied with your nutritious meals and snacks. Managing your stress, getting enough sleep, and building balanced Mediterranean meals are all key steps to reducing your sugar cravings. The diet’s emphasis on nutrient-dense fruit & vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean meat can help you feel fuller, more satisfied, and more energetic.
If you are looking for a more complete introduction to the Mediterranean Diet and how to follow it, check out our self-paced course Living Fully Mediterranean.
Looking For Some Balanced Mediterranean Meals?
Here are some ideas for what to eat when craving sugar. Try one of these nourishing meals that are satisfying and will help reduce your cravings.
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Roasted Veggie Bowl With Green Tahini Sauce
- Slow Cooker Lentil and Mushroom Bolognese
- Ginger Chicken Meatballs in Peanut Sauce
Looking For Some Sweet Treats Made With Nutritious Ingredients?
If you’re craving a sweet treat, try one of these recipes made with nutrient-dense ingredients.