How to Stop Sugar Cravings for Vegetarians
By Laura Ng
Do you crave high-sugar vegetarian foods such as candies, chocolates, cookies, sweetened beverages, white bread or white rice etc?
If yes, then your overweight problem might stem from ingesting too much sugar. You must learn to stop your sugar cravings now if you want to lose weight effectively.
How Sugar Cravings Affect Your Health and Cause Weight Gain
Here's the truth. Simple (refined) sugar contains nothing but empty calories. One tablespoon of table sugar feeds 45 calories and ZERO nutritional value to your body.
Look, a piece of banana cake or a handful of chocolates definitely contains more than 1 tablespoon of sugar. So, think about the amount of calories derived from sugar that you stuff in your body each day, other than those foods containing carbohydrate, protein and fat.
Oh gosh, sugar sure is one hideous monster that makes you fat.
Not only that, refined sugar spikes your blood sugar to a high level (that's why you feel better right after eating) within short time, thereby stimulating your pancreas to release more insulin into bloodstream to remove excess sugar and stored as fat in your liver and elsewhere in your body.
When that happens, your blood sugar level drops as fast as it rises and you feel tired right after. Soon, you crave sugar and reach out for sweet food again to perk you up. As you experience this yo-yo cycle repeatedly throughout the day, you've unknowingly pumped a lot more glucose than needed into your bloodstream.
To make matter worse, this yo-yo effect makes you too tired to exercise and most of the blood sugar gets stored away as fat. If you allow this cycle to repeat continually without curbing your sugar cravings, more and more calories will get transported into fat cells, leading to fat and weight gain.
You won't want to suffer the consequences of the fluctuation between hyperglycemia (blood sugar higher than normal) and hypoglycemia (blood sugar lower than normal) because they can result in more complex health problems such as diabetes mellitus, stroke and atherosclerosis.
Furthermore, to digest simple sugar, your body uses up 27 precious nutrients such as calcium, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, potassium, magnesium, manganese, sodium, chromium, zinc etc in the process that are mainly found in your liver's enzymes.
These important nutrients are essential to maintaining the normal functioning of your body's immune system and regulating your metabolism to keep it active so as to help you burn off the excess calories effectively.
Eating sugar excessively leaches your body of these precious nutrients. In the long run, your organs suffer permanent damages that could lead to many critical illnesses and diseases. And of course, make your midsection grow larger and larger.
How to Stop Your Sugar Cravings & Start Losing Weight
A normal person needs about 40 to 55 g of sugar, equivalent to 8 to 11 teaspoons daily. With cheap high fructose corn syrup being added to most pre-packaged foods these days, you can easily obtain the required quantity of sugar from the food and drinks you consume each day, without adding more to your food.
Sadly, most of us struggle with controlling sugar cravings.
Beware, don't let your body build up a resistance to simple sugar. Once you lose grip on your sugar addiction, you'll need more sugar each time to feel satisfied. And like all addictions, it's very, very difficult to kick it.
Exercise more vigilance in watching over your sugar consumption, so that it won't wreck your weight loss plan and inflict damages to your health.
Here I suggest some easy-to-follow tips to stop your sugar cravings and start losing weight:
Eat more complex carbohydrates like whole wheat food group composing of brown rice, whole meal, whole grain, oats, wheat germ, corn, buckwheat.
If you want to sweeten your food, choose pure maple syrup, barley malt syrup, agave nectar or stevia nectar instead of table sugar. These natural sweeteners won't eat up your body's 27 nutrients like table sugar does. Instead, they provide nutrients like iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, vitamin B1, B2, C etc for you. Avoid artificial sweeteners like Nutrasweet or Aspartame.
(Though agave carries 56 calories per tbsp, relatively higher than normal table sugar at 50 Cals per tbsp, agave is much sweeter, so much lesser can be used. You end up taking in lower calories. For other natural sweeteners, you just have to be careful with the dosage to avoid adding unnecessary calories. Stevia holds zero calories, so it's the most preferred natural sweeteners.)
Toss out all canned drinks. One 325 ml canned drink generally contains as much as 15 teaspoons of refined sugar. So that's a good start to cut down on sugar. Moreover, if the drink is carbonated, all the more you should quit completely because it contains so much carbon dioxide that upon consumption, can kill most of your healthy cells that could have been needed for effective weight control. That explains why 99% of people who drink fizzy drinks gain weight more easily and faster than those who do not.
- Read labels carefully. Watch out for these labels:
"No Added Sugar / unsweetened" — No table sugar is added but could still contain natural sweeteners.
"Sugar Free" — Contain less than 0.5g of sugar for every 100g
"Low Sugar" — Contain less than 5g of sugar for every 100g
"Reduced Sugar" — Contain 25% less sugar than normal product
Should You Stop All Sugar Intake to Curb Your Sugar Cravings?
Now, since simple or refined sugar does you more harm than good, I suggest that you keep away from it totally, where possible. But that doesn't mean you should deprive yourself of your favorite sweetened food like desserts and snacks.
You can choose desserts or snacks made of natural unrefined sweeteners when you eat out (you pay more, of course), or you can whip up your own delicious yet healthy chocolate desserts, treats and snacks without sugar, chemical and artificial sweeteners.
Wait, I'm not done yet! Though changing to the healthier unrefined sugar may not impact your health as much as eating refined sugar, unrefined sugar is nonetheless... sugar. So, heaping excess can still affect your health in other ways and hamper your weight loss too. Remember, anything good when consumed excessively, will become bad. So, make your choices wisely and eat sugar (albeit unrefined) in moderation.