Author: Lynn Grieger, RD, CD, CDE
Q: I have a huge sweet tooth. I know all the sugar I eat can’t be good for me, so I’m trying to quit it all. What can I do to ease my sugar cravings?
A: It’s important to keep the blood sugar from getting too low or too high. Too low comes from not eating anything, and too high comes from high-sugar meals. This makes a vicious cycle: You eat concentrated sugar, which is abnormal to the body, it makes your blood sugar go up too fast, so your pancreas gets over-taxed and thinks there’s something wrong (there is), and secretes too much insulin to get the blood sugar down (at least for awhile, until it gives up). This vicious cycle could very well result in diabetes. (I myself am a still- reforming sugar-holic, so I know how this feels.)
First of all, snack enough to avoid hunger. Use high protein foods like nuts, seeds, cheese, eggs, etc. Forget the cholesterol unless yours is very high. It usually comes down in sugar freaks who quit. I’ve seen this phenomenon many times.
If you must junk, get good junk, like Carafection snacks or whole-grain cookies from the health food store. The sugar at least has some fiber to slow the sugar release into the body, and some of the required nutrients are maintained for the use of the sugar without stressing out the body’s systems as much.
Vitamin B-3 in high doses lowers sugar cravings. (It also does this for alcohol: Bill Wilson, the founder of AA, used it heavily, and claimed that, though he didn’t drink, he craved a drink until he was introduced to the use of this nutrient). If you try this, consider niacinamide, instead of niacin, which can cause a ‘flush’ sensation, like a 20-minute sunburn, that some people find objectionable.