Strawberries and sugar

By Dr John Barnett

Eat a protein-packed breakfast.

Protein stabilizes our blood sugar and keeps us out of the craving danger zone. During the afternoon, our circadian rhythms change as cortisol levels decrease and melatonin increases. These chemical shifts are the reason we start reaching for the candy jar around 2:30 p.m. Instead, enjoy a low-sugar protein shake like the Isagenix Isalean.

Avoid low-fat products
It is no coincidence that Americans have gained weight while eating “low-fat” foods. Typically, these products contain high levels of sugars and other carbs to compensate for fat reduction.

Sleep more, crave less.

The key to stopping sugar cravings in their tracks is balancing the hormones ghrelin (an appetite trigger) and leptin (which signals fullness), along with insulin. Get these hormones working in harmony and you’ll experience fewer cravings—and less fat storage. But if you get less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep, you may be undercutting this goal.

Rev up your movement to dial down your cravings.

If you’re plagued by strong sugar cravings, getting your body moving may help deactivate them. According to a study published in Applied Psychology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, the more you sit, the greater your appetite – even if your body doesn’t need the calories. Moderate exercise also helps keep muscle cells sensitive to insulin. Strength training builds stronger muscles, which in turn use up more glucose. Any physical activity that you enjoy will help get sugar off your brain.

Skip the alcohol
Alcohol is so much like sugar and also feeds those pleasure centers in our brains, because of this it is important to cut it out while you’re trying to get on top of your cravings. “Once that neuro circuitry has been calmed down, then you can introduce a little bit back.”

Pinpoint your sugar pitfalls.

Do the doughnuts in the coffee room at work every morning call out to you? Think through your day and identify where and when you are most susceptible to sugar’s lure, and ask yourself why you “need” sugar in those moments. Is it because you’re starving when you get to work and the doughnuts are just too tempting to resist? Empower yourself with new, positive alternatives you can use to meet that need.

Find healthier rewards.

Instead of treating yourself to sweets, treat yourself to pleasure! Often we reach for sugar when we’re stressed, lonely, or bored. But there are far better ways to turn around a bad mood or energy lull. Make your own personal “rewards card”—a list of nourishing activities that you can whip out any time you find yourself reaching for sweets.

Supplement with calcium and vitamin D.

Are you taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement? Good! Several studies suggest that multivitamins that contain vitamin D and calcium can potentially lower cravings and promote weight loss. Extra body fat holds on to vitamin D so that the body can’t use it, and this perceived deficiency interferes with the action of leptin (the hormone that signals your brain that you’re full). If you’re deficient in calcium, your body can experience up to a fivefold increase in the fatty acid synthase, an enzyme that converts calories into fat. While a multivitamin can’t replace a healthy diet, this bit of extra nutrition “insurance” can’t hurt—and you might just find your cravings lessen while your weight loss speeds up.