A Few Ways To Avoid Candy Cravings
This time of year really challenges our self control. It seems like everywhere we go between October and January there are candy and sweets in great abundance! Sugar suppresses the immune system and contributes to all kinds of health problems, but that knowledge isn’t usually enough to keep us from indulging. I like Dr. David Williams’ list of ways to avoid candy cravings. I have added a few of my own suggestions to those that were on his website. Happy Holidays!
- Take a multivitamin. Most people don’t associate vitamin intake with reduced food cravings, but when the body is deficient in a certain vitamin or mineral, cravings for food that might correct the imbalance can be intense.
- Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated with water really helps with cravings. When you are craving candy or other sweets, drink a tall glass of water right away.
- Consume a protein shake for breakfast. So many people are deficient in various amino acids that the body uses as neurotransmitters. Deficiencies of neurotransmitters like serotonin or dopamine cause a breakdown in cellular communication, resulting in both mood changes and food cravings. The pharmaceutical companies are well aware of this situation, and are developing appetite suppression medications that mimic the effects of naturally occurring amino acids like L-tryptophan, tyrosine, and others. With a simple homemade protein shake, you can achieve the same effects without the dangerous side effects or expense.
- Get plenty of sleep. The latest research has linked a lack of sleep (more precisely, the lack of melatonin) with insulin resistance, an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, and specific food cravings. Researchers have discovered that the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have melatonin receptors. When melatonin is released from the brain during sleep it helps shut down insulin production. Individuals who sleep little or poorly become more resistant to insulin, and their insulin sensitivity resembles the insulin resistance of diabetic people. To make matters worse, sleep-deprived individuals crave starchy, sweet foods—starting a vicious cycle that can lead to diabetes.
- Get your D. A low level of vitamin D increases insulin resistance, which tends to increase fat storage. It also depresses mood and subsequently leads to food cravings.
- Walk it off. As long as you are getting adequate sleep and nutrition, the craving should go away with some water and a few minutes walking outside. Distract yourself with something that needs to get done. Go get the mail, take out the trash, walk the dog. Drink a big glass of water and walk it off.
- Don’t bring candy you love into the house. If you are going to keep candy around for the holidays, don’t stock up on the things that tempt you most. Make it easier on yourself and don’t bring temptation into the house.