Don't Try These at Home! Sugar Craving "Cures"?
by Joan Kent, PhD
Sugar is nutrition news these days, so sugar addiction is getting the attention it deserved long ago when only a few nuts (like yours truly) were talking about it.
I searched recently for the mainstream "wisdom" on getting rid of sugar cravings. The suggestions available display a poor understanding by various authors of what makes us crave sugar.
Below are some of those suggestions. Of course, almost everything will work for somebody, but as a rule, I'd never recommend these to my clients.
• Turn your attention to something else.
This approach is no better than the next one on the list.
• Change the scenery & take a walk.
Whoever proposed these first two solutions seems to think cravings are "all in your head," so the solution must be to focus your thoughts on something else.
• Talk to a friend.
If you believe a sugar craving is an emotional phenomenon, this suggestion seems reasonable. It's less reasonable if you know cravings are physiological.
If you believe cravings are the result of thoughts, feelings or stress, this may seem reasonable. Because meditation can change brain chemistry, it might even work.
• Avoid stress.
Of course, that sounds fantastic. Who wouldn't want to avoid stress? But it's not always realistic. And what if you're already stressed? What do you do then?
Besides, this suggestion doesn't distinguish a craving from the urge to eat. The urge to eat when stressed may actually be inborn. Animals do it, too. It's not necessarily the same as a craving.
• Drink water.
That's ALWAYS good advice. A craving may be a result of dehydration, but it isn't necessarily so. Thirst can be mistaken for hunger, and the urge to eat is sometimes mistaken for a craving (see "Avoid stress" above). But these things are not really the same.
The suggestions below might seem temporarily effective but could backfire in the long run.
• Eat a little of the craved food, then divert your attention.
This shows a lack of knowledge of sugar's neurochemical effects. Yes, eating sugar will take away the craving – after all, you ate what you craved. But the craving will come back later — probably with a vengeance.
Also, when you eat sugar, the craving will go away, so why would you even need to turn your attention to something else? Yikes.
• Eat the craved food, then eat something healthful.
Sorry, you'll never convince me that sugar cravings will be "cured" by eating sugar plus kale. The craving will return big-time later because you ate sugar. And eating sugar may make kale (and other healthful foods) seem unappealing.
• Eat a decadent, delectable version of the craved food and savor it.
Eating slowly and voluptuously has nothing to do with eliminating a craving. Sugar will virtually always stop a sugar craving – but it's a short-term fix at best.
• Eat fruit.
As if fruit isn't sugar! Since it is, this suggestion is no better than the rest of the food suggestions above.
What Should You Do Instead?
Treat a craving like the neurochemical – thus physiological – phenomenon it truly is. Would we tell someone to get rid of the flu by changing the scenery, or diverting her/his attention? Those are not necessarily effective solutions for a physiological problem.
Addressing neurochemistry may be a better way to fix a neurochemical / physiological issue. Use liquid B-complex – suggested in a previous article – for short-term cravings relief. It really works.
(Check with your doctor first to be sure it's okay for you to use B-complex.)
Change your diet for a long-term, even permanent, cravings cure. It really works.
Get a nutrition coach for ongoing support, because the previous two suggestions may be easier said than done. Coaching really works.
Anthony Robbins said, "Knowledge is potential power. Implementation is power." Nutrition coaching from someone who understands food addictions is optimal implementation and true power. Ending cravings and food addictions can help you improve your moods, transform your health, and lose weight, even if diets haven't worked for you.
Why stay locked in compulsive food habits when you can start moving in the right direction now? I'm committed to helping you do that! Just visit www.LastResortNutrition.com and grab your free copy of "3 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Trying to Quit Sugar."