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Stopping my need to crave sugar

Updated on July 18, 2011

Diabetes is notorious in my family. I have uncles and aunts from my dad's side who either died or suffer from diabetes. The worse case I recall was an uncle who had his leg amputated. As kids growing up (and there were five of us), we've always been told not to eat and crave so much sugar. Was this just an old wives tale? Diabetes and sugar seem to be associated with each other. My aforementioned aunts and uncles are well-known among the family for their appetite for anything sweet -- candy, soda, flan, etc. To this day, the ones alive and suffering from diabetes still eat plenty of sweets.

As a grown up, I noticed a few years back that I crave sugar, usually in the afternoon at work. Now, I don't know for a fact whether or not diabetes and sugar craving had anything to do with each other. But there were plenty of times when the urge to eat a candy bar was so strong that it got annoying when ignored for a long time.  So a trip to the vending machine was often justified.  It was really nothing more than a disruption of my afternoon's work flow. But still, there had to be something I can do to stop sugar cravings.

So I researched. I spoke to a close friend who is a licensed chiropractor, nutritionist, and a general health-nut. I also discussed the issue with my doctor. I read articles online, magazines, newspapers, and basically anything I could get my hands on.

WHY DO I CRAVE SUGAR

One possible place I could start and did was controlling low blood sugar level. Apparently, to crave sugar was my body's natural reaction whenever it needed sugar. I heard this before as "coming down from a sugar high." Typically, it occured whenever I ate lunch consisting of high carbohydrates. At the time, I thought it was eating bread, rice, potatoes, and, to some degree, salads. That was bad for me since I perceived those food as light lunches that I prefer on work days.

HOW TO STOP SUGAR CRAVINGS

The best advice I received and read on how to stop sugar cravings was to stabilize the sugar release into my body. This was an issue of good carb vs. bad carb diet. There had to be fiber in the carbohydrates that I eat. Fiber was needed to slowly release sugar in my blood stream, allowing me to control sugar cravings. Good carbs with fiber came from whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans. Bad carbs were food that have low or do not contain fiber. The more processed the food, the less natural fiber. So bad carbs were white bread, white rice, sugar, and "added" sugar. White rice was a bit of a problem at first since I'm Filipino and that's what we grow up eating.

MY CONTROL OF SUGAR CRAVINGS: PSYCHOLOGICAL OR PHYSICAL?

It's been awhile now that I've been watching my fiber and carbohydrate intake. And my crave for sugar seems to be under control. I'm not sure if it's from the food that I have been eating or just the fact that I'm mentally aware of avoiding the vending machine. In either case, I can go for weeks without eating a candy bar, soda, or doughnut. I mainly just stick to water or green tea. I drink coffee without sugar or sugar additives. Just with cream or just black. Black and bitter.

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