If your food cravings are for celery and soup, you are one step ahead in conquering your weight loss goals! However, if you can’t seem to stop thinking about cakes, sweet and burgers, you need to control those cravings for the sake of your health, weight, and well-being. These high carbohydrate, high sugar foods may give you short term pleasure but long term, you are creating a vicious cycle which can be difficult to control.
Carbs vs Sugar
Your body breaks down and converts most carbohydrates into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream through the small intestine. Whole foods, such as vegetables, break down slowly in your system and raise your blood sugar slowly over time. Foods containing refined carbohydrates like corn syrup, sugar and white flour break down quickly and cause a rapid spike in your blood glucose levels.
So what is to blame here? Is it the carbs, the sugar or both? Food cravings can be triggered by foods containing refined carbohydrates. Those high Glycemic Index carbs and sugars cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. Shortly after, your blood sugar levels crash, leaving you craving the same sorts of food to relieve the discomfort.
Why do refined carbs and sugar leave me wanting more?
When your blood glucose levels crash suddenly after a rapid spike, your brain immediately sends your body signals to eat more sugar to increase your blood glucose levels again.
Not only is your brain sending you signals to increase your blood sugar levels, but your brain is also being affected in an unexpected way. Research has shown that people who consume food high in sugar show increased activity in an area of the brain that is linked to craving and reward.
So not only does your brain simulate hunger when there is a sudden drop in blood glucose levels, but it is also causing your body to associate sugary food with pleasure.
How do I stop the cravings?
Now you know why you are craving those sweet carbohydrate loaded treats, you need to know how to prevent the cycle from continuing. As you may have guessed, the solution is simple; the less sugar and refined carbs you eat, the less your body is going to crave it. Here are some tips to get you started:
Eat foods that are low carb and low GI – By preventing your blood glucose levels from spiking suddenly, you will reduce the cravings associated with your body trying to increase your levels through a quick sugar hit.
Don’t buy highly processed foods – Firstly, if you don’t have it in your home, you are less likely to eat it. This prevents mindless eating and accidentally kick- starting the sugar craving cycle again. Try to always choose whole, low carb foods when grocery shopping and menu planning.
Change up your menu plan – Eating a variety of healthy, low carb foods keeps you interested and the experience of eating a more pleasurable one. By trying out new, exciting recipes, your mind will focus on your next healthy meal rather than looking for a quick fix.
Limiting foods containing refined carbohydrates and sugar will reduce your sugar cravings and can help you prevent issues around overeating. By reducing this excess calorie intake, you will experience faster weight loss results and enjoy a healthier mind and body.