When sugar cravings hit, does it feel like nothing else will satisfy?
Often, sugar cravings are actually a useful impulse by the body to solve a problem. For instance when blood sugar is low – a situation perceived by the body as a crisis – the endocrine system will send chemical messages which induce a craving for foods that supply glucose in a hurry. Those quickie carbs we love so much (sugars and the other ‘whites’) will convert to glucose lightening fast, and pull blood sugar out of the danger zone. Problem solved.
Unfortunately, only for a moment.
Refined carbs, when taken in without protein, fiber or fat to slow their absorption, will trigger the release of insulin to bind with the glucose molecules and pack them away in the liver, the muscles or fat cells for later use.
However, this kind of insulin response can remove too much of the glucose from circulation which causes a sudden drop in blood sugar leading to loss of concentration, tiredness and the desire for another quick burst of glucose. This blood sugar roller coaster, left unchecked, can lead to metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes or diabetes.
So, what to do?
- Don’t skip meals. Eating regularly will stave off severe blood sugar drops that lead to cravings in the first place.
- Eat a balance of protein, healthy fat and slow carb at each meal.Slow carbs like brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato and veggies contain the fiber that will help slow absorption.
- Anticipate those cravings, and pre-empt them with a tasty treat that feeds your brain and body like a small handful of macademia or walnuts with some dark chocolate (70% or higher) or coconut cream with berries.
Coconut Cream and Berries
1 can whole milk coconut milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
a few drops liquid stevia to taste
Fresh berries, or frozen berries made into a compote.
Place canned coconut milk in the fridge for a few hours. In a cool location or in the fridge, whole milk coconut milk separates.
Open the can and scoop out the thick cream that has solidified at the top, leaving the water behind.
Place the cream in a bowl and add vanilla and stevia. Whip with a hand-held mixer until smooth and creamy.
Serve in a small bowl with berries or berry compote on top.