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Greensboro, NC 27408

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October 24, 2019

Tricks To Fight Sugar Cravings

Many people regularly experience sugar cravings, but with Halloween looming, the sugar monster could be making a more frequent appearance. Sugar and food cravings are caused by the regions of the brain that are responsible for memory, pleasure, and reward. Sugar cravings are common and can often be the effect of certain foods in your diet or a bad habit that has reprogrammed your brain. Sugar alone is a huge obstacle for people trying to maintain a healthy diet and excess sugar can wreak havoc on your oral hygiene. There are a variety of tips and tricks to reduce unwanted food and sugar cravings. These include:

1. Eat a healthy and filling meal when hungry

Craving and hunger are not the same thing.  If your body is craving something, your brain is asking for something that releases a reward, such as dopamine. Sugar cravings are hard to deny, but if you are craving while hungry, try eating a healthy meal immediately. Stock your pantry and snack drawer at work with healthy snack foods and pre-made meals, so when the cravings strike you are are not eating pure sugar or junk food. Protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, and eggs are especially good for curing hunger, so try to eat a balanced lunch to avoid an afternoon slump.

2. Take a walk outside

A quick walk has many benefits, but two of them being it distances yourself from the availability of food that you are craving and the exercise will release endorphins. Endorphins release a chemical inside your brain that inhibits the communication of pain signals and may also produce a feeling of happiness or euphoria, which can subside your sugar cravings.

3. Drink plenty of water

Hunger and thirst can produce a very similar reaction in the mind, causing it to become confused and think it’s hungry when it’s dehydrated. One of the easiest ways to reduce food and sugar cravings is to stay hydrated throughout the day. Avoid sugary drinks that may trigger the brain into wanting more sugar later and bring a refillable water bottle with you so you can easily fill it up when a craving strikes. 

There are many different opinions and research studies on how much water a person should be drinking each day. However, it is commonly recommended that a person drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or a half a gallon.

4. Sleep well and avoid excess stress

Getting the recommended amount of sleep each night is a staple of a healthy lifestyle.  Several studies suggest that insufficient sleep alters the body’s hormone balance and can contribute to overeating and weight gain. For instance, think about the last time you didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Did you reach for that extra sugar packet for your coffee or that donut at the staff meeting?

Similar to sleep, avoiding stress or certain triggers can help prevent cravings. If you are working long days and pushing yourself physically or mentally, all on less than ideal sleep, you’re going to have a difficult time curbing your sugar cravings. If you are experiencing stress at home, at work or in a relationship, it makes sense that your brain is craving comfort or a reward in sugar. Take notice of when you are craving sugar and see if you cannot eliminate or fix some of your stressors. 

If you are craving sugar or sugary foods, you are not alone. Studies show that 97% of women and 68% of men experience periods of food cravings. Sweet treats in moderation are okay for a balanced diet and healthy oral care, but if you are frequently having these cravings try some of these tips and tricks to get some relief.

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