Sometimes, no matter how hard you resist, the craving for something sweet is overwhelming. Ian Marber, the Food Doctor, shares five simple steps to curb sweet cravings in a month.
It’ll be hard at first but if you follow these guidelines for 30 days then your desire for sweet things dramatically diminishes and you are no longer prey to sugar cravings.
1. Eat a good breakfast
Skipping breakfast will leave you with low blood sugar, leading to poor, quick-fix food choices later on. But muffins, pastries and sweetened cereals will start you on the blood glucose rollercoaster.
Instead, choose a combination of protein and complex carbohydrates that will provide a more consistent level of fuel through the morning. Porridge made with low-fat milk, topped with plain live yoghurt and combined with a heaped tablespoon of pumpkin seeds and almonds is an excellent choice. A little chopped pear or apple and a sprinkle of cinnamon will add extra flavour.
2. Take probiotics
Friendly bacteria will help correct any imbalance in your gut and will also reduce yeast overgrowth, as healthy bacteria keep it in check. Probiotics capsules, found in the fridge at your health food store, are a better option than probiotic drinks and yoghurts, which can often be loaded with sugar.
Try NutriLida probiotic products like ProbiFlora (R199.95 for 60 capsules). Also, eat a daily serving of plain live yoghurt, either regular or soy-based, ensuring that it is totally sugar-free.
3. Eat vegetables
Green vegetables have a “prebiotic” effect, which encourages the formation of friendly bacteria in the gut. Vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals needed to build immunity and help defend against yeast overgrowth.
They release their energy slowly, helping to prevent blood glucose crashes. Experiment with a wide range as some sweet veggies, such as carrots, tomatoes, parsnips and sweet potatoes, can help to satisfy your cravings.
4. Snack regularly
Forget diets that tell you not to eat between meals. This makes your blood sugar levels crash, which triggers cravings. So don’t feel bad about snacking mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
For something sweet, try an apple, a pear or a handful of berries, as well as some nuts or seeds. Combining protein with carbohydrates further slows the release of energy. Dried fruits and bananas may seem a good alternative to chocolate and biscuits, but they are often sources of concentrated sugars that will only perpetuate sweet cravings.
5. Choose healthy desserts
Foods with artificial sweeteners will only encourage a continuing desire for sweet foods. Honey and maple syrup, meanwhile, act in the same way as sugar once they’re in the body. Instead, try a serving of live yoghurt sprinkled with flaked almonds and a little desiccated coconut.
A baked apple, stuffed with a knob of butter, nuts, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and served with plain Greek yoghurt is so delicious, it’s hard to believe it contains no sugar. Summer berries with a drizzle of cream or yoghurt will satisfy the sweetest of teeth.
If you want to go sugar free, but aren’t sure where to start, sign up to our #7Days #FreeFrom sugar newsletter. For one week, we’ll send you all the recipes, tips and inspiration you need. Sign up for free here.
DISCLAIMER: Before starting any diet, you should speak to your doctor. You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.
Check out The Food Doctor Ultimate Diet by Ian Marber (Dorling Kindersley, R344), available from www.takealot.com.