13 Ways to Fight Sugar Cravings
Sweet tooth raging out of control? Here's how to tame those sugar cravings.
By Wendy C. Fries
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Does that morning Danish leave you craving another treat two hours later? Do you grab a candy bar to cope with your afternoon slump -- and then reach for a cola to get out of your post-slump slump?
If you've found that munching sugary snacks just makes you crave more sugary snacks, you're not alone. Eating lots of simple carbohydrates -- without the backup of proteins or fats -- can quickly satisfy hunger and give your body a short-term energy boost, but they almost as quickly leave you famished again and craving more.
How can you stop sugar cravings once and for all? Here's expert advice.
Why Do We Crave Sugar?
There are many reasons why we go for sweet things.
That appetite may be hardwired. "Sweet is the first taste humans prefer from birth," says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, a dietitian and American Dietetic Association (ADA) spokeswoman. Carbohydrates stimulate the release of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. Sugar is a carbohydrate, but carbohydrates come in other forms, too, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
The taste of sugar also releases endorphins that calm and relax us, and offer a natural "high," says Susan Moores, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in St. Paul, Minn.