Have you ever had a sugar craving so intense that you feel shaky, uncomfortable, or off until you eat something sweet?
If you answered yes, and you’ve been in the position where a sugary treat is required to feel normal, you’re likely dealing with imbalanced blood sugar*.
Here’s the typical cycle of imbalanced blood sugar:
● You crave something sweet or caffeinated
● You satisfy the craving and your blood sugar spikes
● Shortly thereafter you feel shaky, which signals low blood sugar
● You crave something sweet or caffeinated again
If you’re tired of experiencing blood sugar fluctuations, this article will provide five effective methods to overcome sugar cravings and maintain a stable blood sugar level.
Focus on incorporating good-quality protein and fat throughout the day. These macronutrients will fuel your body and support your system to naturally regulate blood sugar levels. Choose organic, pasture-raised eggs and animal protein like beef or poultry, organic, whole-fat dairy options like yogurt or cheese, wild-caught seafood, and plant-based options like nuts or seeds, like chia, hemp, or flax. Recognize that all of these foods have both protein and fat naturally occurring (thanks, Mother Nature!).
Avoid regular consumption of refined sugars and processed carbohydrates. Refined sugars and processed carbohydrates are foods like muffins, candy, desserts, pizza, pasta, most cereals, store-bought bread, etc. While these foods are ok to indulge in from time to time, choosing these foods throughout the day will feed into the vicious cycle of blood sugar spikes and crashes.
Ensure you’re properly hydrated. Research has shown that dehydration is associated with blood sugar dysregulation which leads to intense sugar cravings (1). To combat sugar cravings, be sure to include hydrating beverages like high-quality filtered water, non-caffeinated herbal tea, or bone broth. As a general rule of thumb, aim for half your body weight in fluid ounces. For example, if you weigh 140 lbs aim for 70 fluid ounces of hydrating beverage per day.
Exercise regularly. Whether you choose aerobic exercise like walking or biking, resistance training with dumbbells or body weight, or a combination of the two, incorporating regular physical movement improves glucose regulation (2). Aim to exercise 3-5 times per week for a total of 150 minutes.
Obtain adequate sleep. Research suggests that sleep loss can lead to impairments in glucose metabolism and increases in insulin levels, which could increase the risk of the development of diabetes (3). Partial sleep deprivation is also associated with changes in appetite-regulating hormones, leptin and ghrelin, and these changes would indicate an increase in appetite, which may lead to increased food intake and weight gain (4). Aim for 7.5-8 hours of sleep per night. Please note that if you’re in a season of life where this is not possible, do the best you can to incorporate as much sleep as you can, whenever you can.
Incorporating good-quality proteins, healthy fats, proper hydration, regular exercise, and restorative sleep are all lifestyle shifts that will help you feel balanced and healthy. If all of this feels too overwhelming at once, not to worry. Start by choosing one habit to focus on and stay consistent to see positive results!
*The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment
1-Johnson EC;Bardis CN;Jansen LT;Adams JD;Kirkland TW;Kavouras SA; “Reduced Water Intake Deteriorates Glucose Regulation in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes.” Nutrition Research (New York, N.Y.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28739050/.
2. Kirwan, John P, et al. “The Essential Role of Exercise in the Management of Type 2 Diabetes.” Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2017,www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28708479.
3,4. Knutson, Kristen L. “Impact of Sleep and Sleep Loss on Glucose Homeostasis and Appetite Regulation.” Sleep Medicine Clinics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2007, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2084401/.