Sugar is in pretty much everything we eat and the sugar we find in most foods is nutritionally scarce and refined. Refined sugar = empty calories. It may therefore seem as though craving for sugar has no nutritional basis but it does, we just choose to go for the wrong type of sugar and within this is an emotional or addictive property – not a nutritional one.
Having a sweet tooth is natural. Satiating that sweet tooth should be with fruits as these are full of natural sugars that provide energy as well as nutrition. Fruits contain nearly all the nutrients the human body needs. With fruits you also will not got a sugar crash like you do with refined sugar. If you have a diet high in fat, then this can cause fruit to be a problem for you – but for health reasons cut out the fat not the fruit!
Fruit is a great way to beat sugar cravings. For breakfast eat 5-6 pieces of fruit or have a large banana smoothie. You will find this sustains you for quite a large period of the day. For lunch and dinner, eat as much fruit as you desire at the beginning of the meal.
By doing these few simple things, you should see a dramatic decrease in cravings and feel much better within yourself.
However, sometimes eating plenty of fruits isn’t enough on its own to help us overcome sugar cravings. Many of us crave sugar because an emotion has triggered it and we get phantom hunger. Phantom hunger is when we FEEL hungry but we aren’t. It is our emotions that are trying to surface and phantom hunger comes about because we have learned to deal with emotions by suppressing them through eating lots of sugary fat foods (for some of us it may be other things).
To overcome our emotional cravings for sugar we must first address what emotions trigger our sugar cravings and what types of situations. A lot of people experience phantom hunger most after work when they are home, bored and restless in front of the TV. Once you know your trigger points for sugar cravings, sit down and write a list of things you can do instead of eat to soothe or overcome that emotion. Sometimes, simply feeling the emotion is enough.
This, however, can be difficult in itself so having support from someone you trust is important. You may find a nice walk is enough, you may want something more stimulating. Most of us do not indulge ourselves in our creative sides enough so doing something like drawing and coloring (yes!) can work wonders. I know I found my joy in art when my son started coloring for the first time. Maybe you prefer to listen to music, create music or do other things. Whatever you like to do write a big list.
This is a good starting point for tackling your emotions. Emotions can be very hard on us and overwhelming, so take it one day at a time and remember a little progress is good. Don’t rush it because it may lead you back to sugar cravings and binging.