Do you have a sweet tooth? Do you ever find yourself breaking down for a cookie, brownie, or piece of cake?
You know what I mean, that day or week you’re ready to get back on track with eating, to start losing weight. Then, the sugar craving starts. To make matters worse, the temptation is right in front of you.
You resist…. You resist… It calls out your name… You resist… You break down and eat it… Guilt…
Sugar cravings have been known to defeat the strongest of us. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. While there are many ways to try to curb sugar cravings, there’s one that has worked the best for me. Keep reading to see How Intermittent Fasting Reduces Sugar Cravings for Me.
ALL OR NOTHING
I always thought I was an “all or nothing” person when it came to food. I either was strictly following a diet of restricting sugar, cheese, etc., or I was binging on these foods.
As a baker and cake decorator, exposed to sugar every day, all bets were off. I ate cake scraps, cake scraps with icing, only icing, Nutella… anything left that was sweet. Needless to say, the more sugar I ate, the more sugar I wanted.
But here’s the deal, you want to know what was the biggest lie I told myself? And I told myself this lie for many years. I kept saying “I’m an all or nothing person.”
Here’s what believing it did for me:
- If I had been eating very healthy for a week and then gave in to a craving, I would just keep binging every day beyond that.
- When I had a bite of cake, I wouldn’t stop there, I would eat an entire slice and then some.
- One taste of something sweet always turned into a binge. I would get sweetened out and eat savory, then eat sweet again.
And hormones made all of it worse! Especially during that year that I was pumping my body with hormones for fertility treatment.
After a year of Intermittent Fasting, it’s amazing, but I realize that I’m not an “all or nothing” person.
REASONS WHY INTERMITTENT FASTING REDUCES SUGAR CRAVINGS
When you fast regularly, there are several things that happen. I’ll start with the simplest ones based on my experience and then we’ll talk about the science behind it.
During the fasting period, when it’s on my mind (it often isn’t anymore) I’m more focused on not eating than on what I want to eat. My favorite option is tea, which I have always loved anyway. So, there are 16 hours of the day when sweets don’t even cross my mind as an option.
I only eat for 8 hours of every day, 2 or 3 times a day. This vastly reduces the number of things I eat. Before, I felt the need to eat about every 2 to 3 hours. Imagine how much more food I could fit in during that time.
Now, my meals are more nutritious and bigger than the more frequent smaller meals I used to have. Which, weren’t really smaller many times. The full feeling helps reduce sweet and savory cravings overall.
Now to the science of it, in a very simplified way. Intermittent fasting helps regulate the insulin hormone. Insulin spikes when we eat because its job is to distribute the glucose from food into our bloodstream to be used immediately as energy or into fat stores for later energy expenditure.
In this world where we’ve been taught to eat 5 to 6 meals a day, we don’t give our bodies enough time to expend the energy in our bloodstream and use our fat stores. During the prolonged period of fasting, we allow our bodies enough time to dip into the fat stores for energy. This results in weight loss as one of the many benefits of intermittent fasting.
In general, ravings tend to go down once your insulin levels become regulated.
WHAT TO DO WHEN A SUGAR CRAVING HITS
This entire post is about how Intermittent Fasting Reduces Sugar Cravings for Me. But I want to be clear about something, reduction and elimination are two different things. I don’t crave sweets as often, but I still crave them occasionally. The biggest differences since I started IF have been frequency and intensity of sugar cravings.
So, here’s what I do when I’m craving something sweet:
- My go-to sweet snack is frozen blueberries with almond butter and cinnamon. Blueberries are full of antioxidants and fiber, and they’re just sweet enough to satisfy my craving. The cinnamon makes it taste sweeter to me and the raw almond butter is just delicious!
- Drink cold cinnamon ginger tea. Again, I associate cinnamon with sweetness. This might be because I grew up eating desserts with cinnamon. But this is healthy and refreshing at the same time.
- Drink kombucha. I have between 8 and 16 oz of kombucha every day for gut health. While sugar is used to brew kombucha, a lot of it is reduced through the fermenting process. Be careful, though, some brands and flavors are very high in sugar. I tend to go for ginger and lemon-flavored ones that contain less sugar.
- Make a green smoothie with fruits, or one packet of natural stevia. This is nutritious and filling, reducing overall cravings.
EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS SWEETER
So far, all the options I just mentioned work well for me. Try them to see which work best for you.
The best thing is that, after a year, I can still go out and have a bite or two of dessert without it turning into a full-blown binge session.
But, I don’t have dessert every time I eat out. For the first time in my life, I don’t feel the need to.
Another way that Intermittent Fasting reduces sugar cravings is by making everything in life sweeter!
I know, I’m exaggerating… sort of. By vastly reducing my sugar intake everything tastes sweeter. My taste buds are no longer desensitized to sweets. This makes a smaller amount of sweet flavor satisfy my cravings. I need a lot less to feel all sweetened out.
What a difference this makes!
I wouldn’t recommend doing this until you feel that you’ve surpassed the insulin resistance stage and are comfortable with your IF routine.
Intermittent Fasting reduces sugar cravings for me. But, this is not its purpose. Frankly, it’s ultimately not even about losing weight. The purpose is to be healthier overall.
Eating less, eating healthier, not craving sugar as often (or at all) are all side effects of a healthier lifestyle.
Try the tips above to satisfy your sugar cravings even if you don’t try Intermittent Fasting. That alone can make a difference in how you feel.
If you don’t have any medical conditions that prevent you from trying IF (check with your doctor), then give it a go. It’s not for everybody, but it’s life-changing for many. It has certainly been for me!
Comment below to let me know what has been most effective in reducing sugar cravings for you.