Sugar Cravings?

  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Apr 14, 2008 8:36 PM GMT
    Hey, so I'm cutting calories to get the body fat down a bit more, and I find that during the day I have pretty serious cravings for sweets. Like, usually right around now. There's a gelato place a few hundred yards from my office I've been frequenting and I think my body's used to it now.

    How should I handle this? I'm of two minds:

    - Oh, don't martyr yourself, keep some trail mix around with some chocolate chips and snack on that when you get really bad sugar cravings, ease your way out of them.

    - No, giving in and having something sweet every time I feel the urge just guarantees the cravings will never abate and strengthens the habit.

    I guess my question is, is this like drug withdrawal and should I just cut all sugar to get it out of my system, will that make the cravings eventually end? Or am I stuck with these cravings forever, and should I therefore find a compromise and a way to live with them?

    If I knew they'd go away in some fixed amount of time I could just muster up the will power to completely avoid all sweet things until then. But if it's gonna continue forever, well, total renunciation will just backfire!
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    Apr 14, 2008 8:42 PM GMT
    well if you eat the trail mix you may as well have the sweet stuff as its probably less bad for you calorie and body fat wise

    But the true answer is be prepared. Educate your palate as fruit can often satiate that urge for a start. But also dont be afraid of using sweeteners or even natural sources like honey. You can quickly whip up a low cal no fat chocolate sauce pour it onto fresh fruit, or add it too some hung yoghurt and kill off any sweet craving you may have.

    Another thing you can do is be a devil and buy an ice cream maker, use low fat fromage frais add some fruit and some honey and wham bang thank you man icon_wink.gif

    But as I say sugar is not the enemy, excess is so like all things count the calories in your allowance and dont deprive yourself or you could fall off the bandwagon with a big thud

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    Apr 14, 2008 10:18 PM GMT
    I beat sugar several months ago. My cravings mainly hit me at night or late evening. I washed them away with water and celery or a hot cup of coffee. For me they eventually went away all together. Stand strong and have a plan. Once you get over hump it is all good from there.
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    Apr 14, 2008 10:28 PM GMT
    I get hit with a sugar craving after every meal. Almost immediately. And I'm in the cupboard looking for something sweet even though I deliberately do not stock anything like that in the house.

    Gum has been my savior. I tried mints, and found I'd eat the whole box given the chance.
  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    Apr 14, 2008 11:01 PM GMT
    I am not sure I am qualify to give advise since I myself always have those sugar craving, but try to eat a lot of fruit. I use to drink lot of diet pop, but now have finally control my habit.
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    Apr 15, 2008 2:09 AM GMT
    I get sugar cravings all the time. I keep nonfat fruit sorbets around in case I get the craving. I try for fruits and whatnot, and I keep on trying to make it that way, but it doesn't always work.
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    Apr 15, 2008 2:18 AM GMT
    Bfg is right, it's not any particular thing you eat at any particular time, it's excess that's the enemy. And that's excess over some time > that a day or two. Like one square of chocolate after dinner isn't going to do much, but if you deny yourself, then binge two whole bars every couple days, it'll add up, along with the emotional pain of denial and guilt.

    My rule is: NEVER KEEP THIS STUFF IN THE HOUSE! It's too easy to just finish it all in one sitting. That goes for chips, soda, refined sugars, Ben & Jerry's -- everything.

    But, when you're eating out with friends, definitely order the dessert, but ask someone to share a dessert with you. Portion sizes (in the US anyway) are meant for the average person, which in the US is now quite fat.

    So don't starve yourself. Enjoy it, as a reward for something you've accomplished (maybe just being nice to a stranger), and in small quantities.

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    Apr 15, 2008 5:36 AM GMT
    My experience is similar. I eliminated all added sugar from my diet some time ago, retrained my palate to enjoy previously sweetened drinks or foods without sugar or sweeteners (coffee, ice tea, plain yogurt), focusing on the simplicity, naturalness and complexity of the non-sugar flavors and aromas, and I try to use artificial sweeteners very sparingly--a little bit if the coffee is very bitter, and some diet sodas now and then. (Same goes for salt.) As a consequence, I rarely get any kind of cravings for sugar anymore and as an added benefit, I find myself more able to manage my hunger. It can be done. If I'm really in the mood to treat myself to a dessert, I tend to choose fresh fruit. All the other stuff--candy, cake, ice cream, etc.--is relegated to an infrequent treat (twice a month, at most, and usually when out--I don't buy any of that stuff anymore either.)

    As for being a martyr (or a saint), I think it's more about attitude there. I focus on my underlying positive, health- and sanity-related motivations to guard against framing my behavior as "good" or "bad" about dietary habits.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19119

    Apr 15, 2008 6:06 AM GMT
    thatcycleguy saidI beat sugar several months ago. My cravings mainly hit me at night or late evening. I washed them away with water and celery or a hot cup of coffee. For me they eventually went away all together. Stand strong and have a plan. Once you get over hump it is all good from there.



    Hmmmmm...lemme see...Hot Fudge Sundae vs. Water & Celery...Gosh, I just can't decide...Guess I'll have to have both!
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    Apr 15, 2008 6:06 AM GMT
    You all are to be admired. My meals are very healthy(honestly) but the cravings are never satisfied. Definitely a sweet(sugar not fat) binger. I personally, have tried using fruit instead for several months but to no avail.

    I guess I should be asking for advice as well.

  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Apr 15, 2008 4:22 PM GMT
    Thanks, guys, this is all useful info.

    When I get sugar cravings and consider eating fruit or some tea with a little honey or some moderate thing, it just won't do. When I feel hungry I can usually run through imagining things in my head and some of them "click" and others don't. Like, chicken leg... nah, mashed potatoes... nah, hamburger, oh man, I need a hamburger.

    With sugar cravings it's always like... caramel. Or chocolate. Or usually ice cream.

    But then honestly after I eat some it's not like I feel deeply fulfilled or anything, it just makes the craving go away for a little bit.

    It sounds like, from a few responses here and what other friends have told me, that such total sweet-tooth sugar cravings really are kind of an addiction of sorts (psychological if not physical) and that going cold turkey will eventually cause them to abate.

    So I'm going to try that for a while, and see if it works. I can deal with being an ascetic as long as I know it's finite. But I couldn't swear off sweets forever if I didn't think the craving would ever get less!
  • auryn

    Posts: 2061

    Apr 15, 2008 4:39 PM GMT
    Dang it! Chocolate topics yesterday, now this! Now I'm hungry. Thank goodness for Clif Bars and Organic Chocolate milk.

    I'll keep pinching my belly fat to remind me; sugar bad. (Especially after my boyfriend bought a dozen donuts from Krispy Kremes; I just can't win. Must succumb. Thank God for the strong and lean workout and the Abdominal Vacuums otherwise I'd never get fit.)
  • Muunrakur

    Posts: 169

    Apr 15, 2008 4:59 PM GMT
    What has worked for me (more or less, because nothing has been 100% for me) is avoiding the junk food in the house... I make a very conscious effort when shopping to not buy sweets. If I'm good about it, when I'm hungry at night or puttering around the house, all I have to much are apples, almonds, carrots, etc.. instead of ice cream and chocolate.

    During those crucial trips to the super market, I can have an impact on my eating for the entire week.
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    Apr 15, 2008 5:04 PM GMT
    I never had much of a sweet tooth. I'd almost never eat candy or cake or things like that. I like fresh fruit though...

    That all changed around January. I suddenly started getting cravings for sweet stuff, like chocolate and ice cream. I just kind of assume it has something to do with either the muscle gains (glycogen?), or the medicine I've been taking (it's homeopathic, so who knows). It's not like I'm binging on the sweet stuff...but I'm definitely eating it a lot more than I used to.

  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Apr 15, 2008 5:38 PM GMT
    I used to get sugar cravings at night, but I avoided fruit that late because the sugar in fruit will be converted into fat. Instead I have some almonds (a poor substitute I know).

    Blood sugar levels are tied to willpower, so I would suggest going cold-turkey, giving your blood sugar level the ability to normalize, which will increase your willpower.

    Harmful micororganisms in the colon, like Candida for example, thrive on sugar, so that's always something you want to keep in mind, as well as the fact that sugar compromises the immune system for up to 4 hours.
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    Apr 15, 2008 5:45 PM GMT
    I just crave ShawnTO's sweet sugar nips! ... icon_rolleyes.gif

    There is a book called The Diet Cure. It uses the amino acid precursors of the 4 neurotransmittors to control cravings and moods.

    I forget what to do about sweet cravings.

    I use the GABA and 5-HTP to counter depression and sleeplessness. They work great!
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Apr 15, 2008 5:48 PM GMT
    I knew rubbing raw sugar on my nips every morning would pay off someday!
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    Apr 15, 2008 5:57 PM GMT
    ShawnTO saidI knew rubbing raw sugar on my nips every morning would pay off someday!


    And now I'm craving sweets again ;)

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    Apr 15, 2008 6:25 PM GMT
    iguanaSF said NEVER KEEP THIS STUFF IN THE HOUSE!


    That's my main rule too.
    I could finish a half a gallon of ice cream in one sitting at home, but would think twice or even 3x if I am to order even a single scoop of it for dessert when I'm outside.
    And since my sweet cravings always hit me at night or after dinner. I would usually brush my teeth immediately after dinner. The mint taste of tootpaste, and the clean feeling normally stops the food cravings, not just the sweets.
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    Apr 15, 2008 7:18 PM GMT
    Sweets, oh how I love sweets. But I have tailored my daily food intake to have very little of the stuff, and I get the vast majority of my carbs from complex sources.

    That being said, I have days where I CCCRRRRAAAAVVVEEEE something sweet. And I figure for as often as I DON'T have any sweets, a little here and there, or stretched over a few days, won't and never does hurt me. I figure this is my body's way of telling me it needs sugar, for whatever reason. I can even make a pint of ice cream last 2-3 weeks when I want to =)

    But things I keep in the house to help curb the craving is cottage cheese with splenda and mixed fruit in it, it's something with texture, I can chew the fruit, and it's "sweet" without being loaded with sugar. Or I'll munch on an apple. Then there are days when I'll make a personal sized batch of cookie dough (using whole wheat flour and splenda), hehe.

    I don't think sugar is the enemy, I think your body needs it in ways just like all other types of food. You just have to monitor your intake of it, and try not to overdo it =)
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    Apr 19, 2008 3:20 PM GMT
    Fruit sorbets are delicious way of pacifying sugar cravings without being ridiculously unhealthy. There's an ice cream shop just up the street from me that sells pints of all natural, no sugar added real fruit sorbets. They are pricey, but delicious, and since they're made with real fruit, a lot healthier than other ice cream alternatives. My favorite is this blackberry/raspberry blend that is mixed with a real cabernet sauvignoon. It's utterly amazing. They're also pretty sweet and fill out the sweet tooth very well.