Sweet Tooth & the Science Behind It
Those cakes you crave to have after every meal you eat, the thick chocolate-coated vanilla ice cream on a stick that lights up your eyes on a hot day and the bars of chocolate in your fridge that you binge on a stressful day full of meetings, all scream the same thing, they are loaded with sugar. Most of us have a nice sweet tooth.
Sugar has a way of communicating with your brain, prompting thoughts of pleasure with each bite of food or sip of your favourite sugary soda. It’s a combination of nostalgia and a chemical response. The more you consume, the more you crave, perhaps leading to long-term health issues.
What’s the deal with sugar, you might question? Everything. Sugar has no nutritional value and is high in empty calories aside from making foods taste better. These calories can lead to weight gain, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. That’s just the physical drawback. The psychological aspect is also real. Sugar releases dopamine and can improve serotonin synthesis, a mood-boosting hormone. Sugar is, in reality, no different than comfort food or a filling fast-food meal rich in simple carbohydrates. These carbs have a high glycemic index, which means it takes less time for them to convert to glucose. You may feel good in the short term as a result of the faster digestion process, but hunger will rapidly set in as sugary foods lack nutrition and make you hungry. It has the potential of becoming a vicious cycle. The sugar you eat initially tastes nice, resulting in a “high” as your brain releases dopamine. The sugar then causes your insulin levels to rise, resulting in a reduction in blood sugar. Your appetite and hunger levels rise when your blood sugar drops. Your body subsequently needs sugar again to alleviate any hunger or discomfort, even if the relief is only momentary.
Food triggers have different effects on different people. Some of us have complete control over our food choices, while others don’t. In actuality, the severity of your sugar addiction is determined by your DNA. You can take a DNA test to discover whether you have a higher risk of developing a sugar addiction, but you can also just pay attention to your eating habits. Get your mypreciseDNA test kits today to see how you are inclined to sugar addictions.
Ways to eliminate sugar cravings and cure a sweet tooth
Hear your body out: A craving is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as a strong, urgent, or abnormal want or longing. However, just because you have a sweet tooth or want something sweet doesn’t mean you have to eat sugar — or even a sugar substitute like a piece of fruit — on the spur of the moment. Take a moment to consider what’s going on in your body. Do you have a throbbing headache? Are you under a lot of pressure? Do you have a physical desire to eat? Are you tired of being bored? Do you require an energizing boost? Do you want anything sweet?
Take some time to think: Try to relax or go for a short stroll after drinking a glass of water. It’s fine to grab a snack if you’re hungry. A snack that contains protein or a source of healthy fat may be the greatest way to satisfy hunger. Preparing your food at the start of the week allows you to be proactive and avoid unnecessary trips to the candy aisle.
Read food labels: Educate yourself about what you’re putting into your body, even if it’s recommended that you eat as few things with labels as possible. The longer the ingredient list, the more probable sugar will be present. So, look at the sugar grams and choose items with the least amount of sugar per serving.
Have fruit instead: Fruit includes fructose, which is processed differently than gummi bears but still provides a pleasurable experience. However, limit your consumption to a few servings per day. Excessive eating has been linked to an increase in abdominal fat, which raises your risk of type 2 diabetes. Also, if you’re eating grapes or cherries, keep in mind that they’re high in sugar.
Quality outweighs quantity: Choose a delicious, rich sugary treat if you need a sugar fix. However, keep it small. Instead of a king-sized candy bar, get a delicious dark chocolate truffle and enjoy every bite slowly. Learn to include little portions in your diet while focusing on filling your stomach with less sweet and healthier alternatives.
Get a good night’s rest: Although it may appear unrelated, researchers believe that the amount of sleep you get has a strong correlation with sugar cravings. It’s well-documented that people who are sleep deprived prefer sugary foods according to Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert and author of Eating in Color. She goes on to say that if you don’t get enough sleep and need to be productive the next day, you’ll rely on caffeine and sugar for a boost. It works in the short term, but it can lead to weight gain in the long run.
What about Artificial Sweeteners? Can It Help Wean off Sugar Cravings?
Artificial sweeteners are becoming increasingly popular as a way of reducing sugar consumption. According to the National Cancer Institute, these synthetic sugar substitutes gained a bad reputation years ago for their association with cancer, but subsequent research hasn’t shown a clear link to producing cancer in humans. For the time being, the FDA has permitted the use of five artificial sweeteners: aspartame, acesulfame-K, neotame, saccharin, and sucralose.
However, just because the FDA has approved their usage does not imply you should switch to artificial sweeteners and maintain your current diet. Artificial sweeteners can initially help by weaning you off added sugars, but long-term use may have an impact on your taste perception. Artificial sweeteners can be thought of as an intensified version of sugar without the calories; a little goes a long way. Artificial sweeteners, according to Harvard Health, can make you more prone to acquire a sweet tooth and crave sweets even more.
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