We all know the feeling. It’s mid-afternoon and all you can think about is the batch of cupcakes your coworker brought in in an attempt to derail your recent gluten-free commitment (or okay, maybe she really did make them for someone’s birthday). Or you’ve just finished eating dinner and all you think about is that chocolate bar waiting for you in your cabinet. You know if you cave and eat the sugar, the wave of fatigue and lethargy will come over you. Your head will start to hurt, you’ll have no energy for your evening workout and even worse, you’ll feel that familiar regret that comes with veering off track. So what can you do the next time you crave sugar?
Eat fat. The quickest way to curb a sugar craving the second it starts is to eat a food that’s rich in high-quality fats. So whether it’s organic goat cheese, walnut butter on green apple slices or Prather Ranch grass-fed beef jerky, eating a snack that’s high in good fats will instantly cut your body’s desire for sugar. In the same way, when you go out to eat, get in the habit of choosing cheese (goat and sheep are the easiest to digest) off the dessert menu instead of a dessert that’s filled with sugar. Not only will you feel more satiated (how many times have you gone home after a dinner out and still felt hungry?) but you will also sleep better than you would if you had selected a more traditional dessert.
Get to the gut of it. Are you having sugar cravings all of the time? Do you feel like after every meal you “need” something sweet? The problem might be in your gut. Because some of the most common parasites live on sugar, they commonly trick your body into thinking that you want something sweet to eat. By cleaning up your gut, you can make your body an undesirable environment for these pesky little creatures and help eliminate these cravings for good. Certain supplements, such as a high-quality probiotic (which restores gut balance) or the amino acid l-glutamine (which can help repair the gut wall) both have the long-term effect of reducing the body’s “need” for sugar.
Take a walk. Or if you can’t, give yourself a few minutes. Instead of eating impulsively, think about the consequences that come with eating something sugary. Is it really worth it? Is it going to hijack your energy if you cave in? Is there a healthy alternative that you could eat instead that would satiate the craving? Sometimes just taking a few minutes to think about a craving is enough to make it go away. I’m a huge fan of Whole 9’s Guide To Nutritional Off-Roading. As they point out, who doesn't love a good flowchart?
Remember, avoiding sugar is not just about staying lean. I know plenty of people in the fitness world who claim they can eat whatever they want because they workout so hard that it doesn’t matter. Don’t be fooled by the look good/feel terrible people out there. Exercise and diet trends will come and go. But if your goal is strength, health, mental acuity, avoiding cancer and diabetes and other larger endeavors, you won’t experience the highs and lows and aches and pains so many people out there endure. So think big (and stay small).