If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’re not alone. The average Brit consumes almost 93g of sugar per day – more than twice the global average.
Most of us know that eating too much sugar is bad news, but cutting back is easier said than done. Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy, sweet alternatives to choose from when the sugar cravings kick in.
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The advantage of eating dates is that you get a sweet hit, but you also get some goodness thrown in, in the form of fibre and protein. Dates are incredibly versatile and can be eaten on their own or added to smoothies or baking as a sugar alternative.
This tasty spice adds warmth and sweetness to dishes, helping to satisfy your sweet tooth. Studies also show that cinnamon can balance blood sugar levels, further reducing cravings for something sweet.
Easily the best go-to food for satisfying a sweet tooth, grapes are also bursting with vitamins C and K, fibre, potassium and antioxidants. If the weather’s hot, munching on frozen grapes will prevent the urge to have an ice cream or another sugar-laden icy treat.
Adding natural sweetness to your main meal means you’re less likely to crave something sugary for pudding, and this is where sweet potatoes really step up to the mark. With their naturally sweet flavour, these fleshy orange tubers are also full of fibre to keep you satiated. They also contain useful amounts of potassium and vitamins A and C.
Life would be dull without chocolate, but this sugar-heavy snack is certainly bad news if you’re trying to lay off the sweet stuff. If banishing chocolate altogether isn’t possible, swap to dark chocolate at least. With less sugar, you still get a sweet hit and can benefit from other health perks such as antioxidants, magnesium and B vitamins. Choose dark chocolate with a high cocoa content and combine it with fruit such as strawberries or a banana to really kick the sugar cravings into touch. Don’t go overboard, though – stick to one or two small squares per day.
Your sugar cravings might be a result of an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. To introduce more good bacteria to the body, consider adding fermented foods to your diet, which are rich in bacteria-friendly probiotics. This includes foods such as sauerkraut, kimchee, tempeh, kefir, pickles and natural yoghurt.
If we’re feeling stressed, we’re more likely to give in to our sugar cravings. So, eating foods that diminish anxious thoughts is a sensible approach to combat the urge for something sweet. Top foods that tackle stress symptoms include green leafy vegetables, turkey, oily fish, berries, avocados, nuts and seeds.
Foods rich in fibre and protein
Sugar cravings are also likely to strike when blood sugar levels dip, and this often happens when we feel hungry. In order to keep blood glucose on an even keel, fill up with foods that make you feel full for longer. Worthy examples are normally high in fibre and/or protein, and include the likes of eggs, lean meat, fish and legumes. One study found that participants who consumed 25% of their calories from foods rich in protein showed a 60% reduction in cravings.