9 Foods That Help Curb Sugar Cravings
Learn how to curb sugar cravings naturally by eating a variety of anti-craving foods such as those listed below.
This page of HealWithFood.org's Guide to Controlling Sugar Cravings is focused on foods that can help reduce and stop cravings for sugar and sweet substances. If you are interested in more general information about sugar cravings and nutrition, visit this Guide's section on the best diet tips for fighting off sugar cravings. For delicious recipes that combine some of the best anti-sugar-craving foods, visit our collection of recipes that fight sugar cravings.
Tomatoes are a nutritional superhero and one of the best foods to eat on a regular basis if you want to curb sugar cravings. Along with romaine lettuce and onions, tomatoes are up there at the top of the list of the most chromium-rich foods. In addition, tomatoes are a great source of serotonin, which is great news as studies suggest that decreases in serotonin levels can cause us to crave sugar. Serotonin is a chemical that functions as a neurotransmitter helping brain cells and other nervous system cells communicate with one another.
#2: Chicory Greens
If you're looking for a great functional food to prevent sugar cravings, you may want to give chicory greens a try. According to traditional Chinese medicine, sugar cravings may be a sign of an imbalance which can be rectified by eating bitter-tasting foods such as the leaves of the chicory plant. As an additional bonus, chicory greens contain vitamin B6, a well known anti-craving nutrient.
Cinnamon has extraordinary properties that can help keep sugar cravings at bay. A mere half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day has been shown to be very effective at normalizing blood sugar levels and reducing food cravings. The main active ingredient in cinnamon is called hydroxychalcone, which is thought to enhance the effect of insulin. Cinnamon also appears to prevent post-meal blood sugar spikes by slowing the gastric emptying rate (GER), which means that the food remains in the stomach longer.
Fish is a great food to add to your diet if you want to curb sugar cravings. Fish works its anti-craving magic in two ways: First, it appears to make the body more sensitive to the hormone leptin. Leptin has been shown to promote development of gray matter in the part of the brain that regulates food cravings and can consequently result in fewer sugar cravings. Second, fish is a rich source of glutamine, an amino acid that provides energy to the brain and helps build and maintain muscle mass. It may also help reduce cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. This is likely to be a result of glutamine's stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels: when the levels are low, glutamine suppresses insulin to prevent further decline of the sugar levels. Glutamine also stimulates the release of glycogen to help increase the blood sugar to normal levels.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, goes the old adage. But did you know that apples can also keep sugar cravings at bay? Apples contain pectin, a type of dietary fiber that makes you feel fuller and for a longer time, so you will eat less during the day. The high concentration of pectin also contributes to the fact that apples have a low glycemic rating compared to most other fruit. As most of the pectin is in the skin, it is best to buy organic apples so that you can eat them unpeeled.
Eating a bowl of freshly cooked oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to start your day off right. Oatmeal has the highest satiety ranking of any food, and eating them early in the day has been shown to reduce cravings as well as the number of calories consumed throughout the rest of the day. This is because, unlike most other carbohydrate-rich foods, oatmeal digests slowly and thus helps keep blood sugar on an even keel. Further, oats are a good source of many B vitamins as well as zinc.
Eggs are a great source of B complex vitamins which are known for their ability to control sugar cravings. Eggs are also packed with protein, which helps control food cravings and prevent overeating by making you feel full for longer. Probably the best way to include eggs in the diet is to have them for breakfast: research conducted at the Rochester Centre for Obesity in America found that eating eggs for breakfast could limit the calorie intake throughout the rest of the day by more than 400 calories. With all that and the fact that they taste great too — whether boiled, poached, or scrambled, it is definitely worth including eggs in your diet.
Beans are wonderfully versatile legumes that come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Yet, they are all tasty and highly nutritious. They should also be an integral part of any nutritional plan designed to stave off sweet cravings. Beans are loaded with protein and fiber — a stellar macronutrient combo for preventing cravings. What's more, beans appear to promote the release of cholecystokinin in the small intestine. Cholecystokinin is a digestive hormone that has appetite suppressant qualities. If your diet is currently low in beans, it is best to add them gradually as they may initially cause intestinal gas.
#9: Romaine Lettuce
Eating romaine lettuce may help control sugar cravings due to its high concentration of chromium, a mineral which plays an important role in stabilizing blood sugar levels. In some cases, sugar cravings are simply a result of chromium deficiency. Mild deficiencies in chromium are relatively common in Western countries where consumption of processed foods are common as processing significantly decrease the chromium content of foods. Also physically active people, people who drink lots of coffee or tea, and — interestingly — people who consume high amounts of sugar have an elevated risk of being deficient in chromium.
For further information on the nutritional approach to staving off sugar cravings, also visit: