How to Beat Sugar Cravings and Boost Your Energy in 5 Easy Steps

Learn how to beat sugar cravings and boost your energy in 5 easy steps. Find out the scientific evidence and proven strategies that can help you reduce your sugar intake, improve your health, and feel more energetic and productive.

FOODNUTRITIONLIFESTYLE

Rheinhard, S.Gz

1/11/20246 min read

white and black floral round decor
white and black floral round decor

Are your tired, moody, and craving sugar? You’re not the only one. Many career women in Indonesia have this problem, especially in the reproductive age. Studies show that young adults consume too much sugar, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health issues. It can also affect your mood, memory, and skin.

But don’t worry, you can beat sugar cravings and boost your energy in 5 easy steps.

Step 1: Identify Your Triggers and Patters

The first step to beat sugar cravings is to know your triggers and patterns. You may crave sugar when you are stressed, bored, lonely, or pressured. Your hormones, sleep, and exercise can also affect your cravings. To find out what makes you crave sugar, use a food diary. A food diary is a record of what, when, and how much you eat and drink, and how you feel. You can use a notebook, an app, or a website. Just be honest and consistent. A food diary can help you:

  • See the emotions and situations that make you want sugar.

  • See how much sugar you eat and how it affects your energy and mood.

  • Change your eating habits for the better.


Science says that a food dairy can also help you:

  • Reduce your sugar cravings, emotional eating, and lose weight.

  • Improve your diet quality and nutrient intake.

  • Monitor your health conditions and symptoms.

person writing on a book
person writing on a book

Step 2: Eliminate or Reduce the Amount of Added Sugar in Your Diet

The second step to beat sugar cravings is to cut down on added sugar. Added sugar is the sugar that is put in foods or drinks when they are made. It has no nutrition and can hurt your health and energy. It can also make you crave and eat more sugar. To cut down on added sugar, you can:

  • Check the labels and ingredients of what you buy. Look for the amount and type of sugar and compare it with the limit. Sugar can have many names, like sucrose, glucose, fructose, etc.

  • Skip processed and packaged foods, like cakes, cookies, candies, chocolates, ice cream, or soft drinks. These foods have a lot of added sugars, which are the main sugar in the Indonesian diet. Indonesians eat more than the limit of 50 grams per day by the WHO.

  • Pick natural sources of sugar, like fruits, vegetables, honey or dates. These foods have vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that are good for your health and sweet tooth. But eat them in moderation, as they still have calories and natural sugars that can change your blood sugar and insulin.

Step 3: Replace Sugar with Healthier Alternatives

The third step to beat sugar cravings is to swap sugar for healthier options. You don’t have to quit sugar or miss out on your favorite foods. You just have to choose wisely and stick to the limit. The WHO says that adults should eat no more than 10% of their daily calories from sugar, which is about 50 grams or 12 teaspoons. But you can get more health benefits if you only eat 5%, which is about 25 grams or 6 teaspoons. To swap sugar for healthier options, you can:

  • Use natural sweeteners, like stevia. They come from plants and have no or very few calories. They can help you eat less sugar, without changing your blood sugar or insulin. But use them in small amounts, as they can still make you want more sugar if you have too much.

  • Use spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla. They can make your foods and drinks tastier and more enjoyable. They can also help you control your blood sugar and insulin, and lower inflammation and stress. Cinnamon can lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and fats in people with diabetes.

  • Use dark chocolate, like 70% cocoa or higher. Dark chocolate is a yummy treat that can satisfy your chocolate cravings, and give you antioxidants, flavonoids, and magnesium. These can improve your blood flow, blood pressure, and mood and brain. But eat only one or two squares per day, as it still has calories, fat, and sugar. Dark chocolate can make you want less sweet, salty, and fatty foods.

Step 4: Drink Plenty of Water and Herbal Teas

The fourth step to beat sugar cravings is to drink more water and herbal teas. They can keep you hydrated, clean, and full. Sometimes, you are thirsty, not hungry or craving sugar. Being thirsty can make you tired, headachy, and moody, and make you want sugar. To drink more water and herbal teas, you can:

  • Drink at least 2 liters or 8 glasses of water per day, or more if you work out or sweat. Water is good for your health and body. It can also make you eat less calories.

  • Drink herbal teas, like green tea, peppermint tea, chamomile tea, or ginger tea. They are natural and caffeine-free, and good for your health. They can help your metabolism, digestion, nerves, or inflammation. They can also make you happy with their taste and smell.

  • Skip or limit caffeinated drinks, like coffee, black tea, or energy drinks. They can give you energy, but also dry you out, and make you tired and want sugar later. If you drink them, have only one or two cups per day, and before noon. And don’t add sugar, cream, or syrups, as they have more sugar and calories.

Step 5. Manage your Cravings and Withdrawal Symptoms

The last step to beat sugar cravings is to handle your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. They are normal and expected when you eat less sugar, as your body and brain get used to it. They can include headaches, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, or depression. They can last from days to weeks, depending on you. To handle them, you can:

  • Accept your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Don’t ignore or deny them, as they are real and valid. But don’t act on them, as they are temporary and will go away. Try to understand what causes them, and how to deal with them.

  • Use positive affirmations and self-talk. They are statements that you say to yourself, to boost your confidence and motivation. They can help you overcome your negative thoughts and feelings and reinforce your positive behavior. For example, you can say: “I can beat sugar cravings and boost my energy. I am strong and capable. I deserve to be healthy and happy.”

  • Use distraction and substitution. They are strategies that you use to divert your attention and replace your behavior, when you have a craving or a withdrawal symptom. For example, you can distract yourself by doing something else that you like or need, such as reading, writing, painting, or working. You can also substitute your behavior by choosing a healthier option, such as drinking water, eating a fruit, or chewing a gum.

That’s it! These are 5 easy steps to beat sugar cravings and boost your energy. By following them, you can improve your health, well-being, and productivity, and enjoy a happier and healthier life. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and you can always reach out to professionals such as Registered Dietitian for consultation. Hope you liked this blog post and found it helpful.

Reference

  1. Almoosawi, S., Fyfe, L., Ho, C. & Al-Dujaili, E., 2010. The Effect of Polyphenol-rich Dark Chocolate on Fasting Capillary Whole Blood Glucose, Total Cholesterol, Blood Pressure and Glucocorticoids in Healthy Overweight and Obese Subjects. British Journal of Nutrition, 103(6), pp. 842-850.

  2. Corsica, J. et al., 2014. Development of a Novel Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Stress-eating: A Comparative Pilot Study. Eating Behaviors, 14(4), pp. 694-699.

  3. Evans, C. E. L., 2017. Sugars and Health: a Review of Current Evidence and Future Policy. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 76(3), pp. 400-407.

  4. Global Nutrition Report, 2023. Indonesia - Country Nutrition Profile. [Online]
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  5. Katterman, S. N. et al., 2014. Mindfulness Mediation as an Intervention for Binge Eating, Emotional Eating, and Weight Loss: A Systematic Review. Eating Behaviors, 15(2), pp. 197-204.

  6. Popkin, B. M., D'Anci, K. E. & Rosenberg, I. H., 2010. Water, Hydration, and Health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(8), pp. 439-458.

  7. Ranasinghe, P. et al., 2012. Effects of Cinnamon zeylanicum (Ceylon Cinnamon) on Blood Glucose and Lipids n a Diabetic and Healthy Rat Model. Pharmacognosy Research, 4(2), pp. 73-79.

  8. Tryon, M. S. et al., 2015. Excessive Sugar Consumption May Be a Difficult Habit to Break: A View From the Brain and Body. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 100(6), pp. 2239-2247.

  9. Wicaksari, S. A., 2022. Source of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Consumption Among Indonesian: A Mini Review. Journal of Global Nutrition (JGN), 2(2), pp. 151-159.

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