Next time You get a “Sweet Tooth”, consider the following… each gram of sugar has four calories.
Sugar is a carbohydrate and carbohydrates stimulate the release of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin (carbohydrates come in other forms:whole grains, fruits, and vegetables). Eating sugar may increase the absorption of an amino acid called tryptophan, which helps your body make serotonin, so it’s possible that eating something sweet may make you feel happy. Now, the sweet taste of sugar also releases endorphin and endorphin give us that calm and relaxed feeling – a natural “high”.
It is easy to indulge in the sweetness of sugar. Americans average about 22 teaspoons of added sugars per day, according to the American Heart Association, which recommends limiting added sugars to about 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 for men.
- Reach for fruit. Keep fruit handy for when sugar cravings hit. You’ll get fiber and nutrients along with some sweetness. And stock up on foods like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, says certified addiction specialist Judy Chambers, LCSW, CAS. “Have them handy so you reach for them instead of reaching for the old [sugary] something.”
- Eat regularly. Waiting too long between meals may set you up to choose sugary, fatty foods that cut your hunger. Instead, eating every three to five hours can help keep blood sugar stable and help you “avoid irrational eating behavior”. Your best bets? “Choose protein, fiber-rich foods like whole grains and produce”.
- And last but certainly not least, Exercise. As little as 20 minutes a day will make a good difference to your health. Plus, exercise will stimulate brain chemicals that will improve your mood.