Hack your sweet tooth and fight cravings while eating clean
Fight back against your sweet tooth
Ok, so we all know. The hardest part of clean eating is avoiding the snacks, cravings and humanities programmed need for fat and simple carbs. This stems from evolution of course, because back in the day our ancestors couldn’t just hit up McDonalds and call it done.
Knowing it stems from our natural instincts means there are usually hormones involved and of course hunger is no exception.
The main two hormones we are talking about here are insulin, and Ghrelin (the hunger hormone). When we have a big influx of simple carbs insulin tells the body to start storing glucose and fat into cells. When our insulin drops after our body has processed an overload of carbs and or fats, it usually drops below baseline (hence eating smaller portions of food more often) and the amount it drops below baseline is directly correlated with the proportion of the insulin spike.
When it does drop below baseline, ghrelin is activated making us hungry (which consequently is also when the body begins to metabolize fat and we begin to feel hungry). This is why people tend to have a hard time recovering and keeping on track after a heavy cheat meal or night. When your bodies insulin is all over the place it’s wreaking havoc on our other hormones and after a heavy cheat when insulin drops and Ghrelin kicks in, we crave more sugary and carby foods and fat.
When we receive a large batch of either fats or simple carbs our brain also rewards us with a dopamine (happiness hormone) plug. The same receptors fire as the ones activated when people take elicit drugs, experience love, or addiction. This is also why, when we get in to a rut, many of us use fatty comfort food to fire up those dopamine receptors for a temporary fix (AKA emotional eating).
So we have determined the cause of our sweet tooth is hormones; Does that mean we’re defenceless? At the will of our bodies Mercy? Heck no, knowing where it stems from means we can understand why it happens and ensure we work around it to cut off the cravings. Doing so before we ever have a chance to spike our insulin will give us a much better chance at surviving a stricter diet regime.
Here are eleven things you can do to cut cravings off at the pass and stay regimented to get the results you want and deserve.
1 – Hydrate! More often than not when you are hungry, your body is misinterpreting signals that you are not hydrated properly and your brain perceives it as hunger. Drink 4-6 litres of water a day and if you’re feeling hungry just drink a big glass of water and wait 15 minutes which should help to calm the beast if this is the origin of your problem. I also recommend drinking a large glass of water 15 minutes before each meal to ensure we are making better decisions when it comes to the food we are selecting to feed our bodies.
If you’re not used to drinking a ton of plain water, use stevia and carb reduced Real lemon mixed with ice to make the transition a little smoother.
2- use complex carbs (think sweet potato and oatmeal) as opposed to simple carbs (processed food, flour, fats and sugars) in smaller doses throughout the day to avoid spiking your insulin lessons and keep yourself feeling satiated and full. You’ll also feel more energized, reduce most cravings out of left field and reduce the storage of fats and carbs.
3 – Before heading into a situation where you have the possibility of overconsuming, have a protein shake and some green veggies to fill yourself up with healthy protein and fiber which will allow you to choose your meals a little more wisely because you’ll already be feeling full. If you have a tendancy to overindulge on the fly this evens the playing ground a little more.
4 – Find carb reduced sauces at health stores or online at amazon and implement those over traditional condiments. We recommend Guys sugar free BBQ sauce as well as Seal Sama Terriyaki to make things taste amazing when watching your calories.
5 – Make sugar free Jello your friend. Feeling like something sweet? Sugar free Jello is an awesome option to curve the sweet tooth with little no calories. Find creative ways to satiating your sweet tooth without ingesting all of the calories
6 – use cinnamon. Lots of cinnamon. Cinnamon has been proven to help stabilize insulin and makes an awesome addition to everything from coffee to plain greek yogurt with Stevia. Use cinnamon whenever possible
7 – 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with water during a meal can also help regulate insulin. While you don’t want to overconsume apple cider vinegar it has a ton of benefits including increasing the alkalinity of your system and helping to reduce spikes in your insulin levels post meal meaning less storage into fat cells.
8 – eat more fibrous vegetables with each of your meals. Consume higher protein but don’t forget to add healthy fibre filled green veggies to help fill you up without spiking your insulin drastically.
9 – use natural appetite suppressors like garcinia cambogia to help supress your appetite in between meals which have very few side effects and allow you to more intelligently choose your foods based on a nutrient content as opposed to hormonal desires.
10 – eliminate simple carbs (such as sugar) whenever possible. While it has been proven that artificial sweeteners (even stevia unfortunately) can spike your insulin levels, they can be useful to replace high and unnecessary caloric content and if they are not overused can help control your sweet tooth leaving your sanity intact. Complete elimination of sweeteners is ideal, but maybe not always realistic.
11 – drink your BCAA’s, take your vitamins, and eat a well-balanced diet. Branch Chain Amino Acids are essential for recovery and most forms closely replicate sweet drinks without all the caloric content. BCAA’s can also prevent hunger and cravings between meals and as soon as you awake by ensuring your body is always being fed with essential building blocks of protein for recovery and muscle building. Taking supplementary vitamins as well as eating a balanced diet ensures our bodies requirements are being met leading to less hormone signals causing us to consume quick and accessible junk that is high in fat and simple carbohydrates.