Don’t deny your sweet tooth. Humans naturally crave sweet flavors, but you can change the type of sweets you crave and choose ones that are actually good for you. A sugar craving is simply the body asking for energy. Cravings can be caused by all kinds of situations. We can be tired, hungry, stressed, malnourished, hot, the list goes on. What we need to do is first identify why we are craving something sweet and then address the real problem. Relieving your sweet tooth with a some blueberries or pineapple or similar fruit will take the edge off the craving and also satisfy your nourishment needs.
There is a difference between simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbs come from sugar, milk, processed foods and grains with little or no nutritional value like cookies, cakes, donuts, and pastries. Simple carbohydrates are made from short chains of sugar. Complex carbs come from fruits, vegetables and whole grains like oats, barley, brown rice, etc. They contain vitamin, minerals and sufficient enzymes for digestion and are made up of long chains of sugar.
When sugar is digested, it becomes glucose. Glucose is fuel for all of the body’s cells. When you eat sugar, it enters the bloodstream and is converted into glucose at different rates, depending on the type of sugar you consume. All carbohydrates contain sugar, but depending on their chemical structure-simple or complex-they are processed differently. Simple sugars enter the bloodstream almost immediately after being ingested. This caused a rapid rise in the glucose levels in the body causing a “sugar rush”. This sugar rush is shortly followed by a crash. Even though fruit contains simple sugars it is also high in fiber, which helps slow digestion, limiting the amount of sugar that flows into the cells.
Carbohydrates that are complex are composed of long chains of sugar and are bound within the food’s fiber. The body processes the sugars by breaking the chains and releasing fiber into the bloodstream. This process is relatively slow; therefore, the sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream at a steady rate for many hours, providing long-lasting energy.
Consuming a protein along with your complex carbohydrate will slow the process down even further and keep you satisfied much longer.
Fat is also an important nutrient to keep our sweet tooth at bay and feel satisfied for longer periods of time. Fat helps us feel full, keeps our hair and skin healthy and shiny and helps our nails to grow among other benefits. Adding healthy fats like olive oil, avocado and omega 3 fatty acids are important to incorporate into a health diet.
Next time you feel that craving for sweets coming on, ask yourself why? What am I feeling right now and what can I do about it. Then reach for blueberries, pineapple, or strawberries instead.
Enjoy these cool, satisfying and sweet treats for breakfast, lunch or dinner