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If you are one of those people who, starting in the afternoon and evening, have cravings for sweet foods such as cakes and other snacks, there are some tricks to practice during dinner to stop the desire for these foods.
Eating sugar-rich foods regularly could increase cravings, creating a vicious cycle of wanting more and more of these foods. From a neuroscience point of view “when we eat sweet foods, the brain’s reward system, called the mesolimbic dopamine system, kicks in,” says Amy Reichelt, associate researcher at BrainsCAN, Western University.
1. Avoid sugary drinks
Consuming foods and beverages that are high in sugar can amplify cravings, creating a vicious cycle of wanting more and more of these foods; the brain will want more sugar.
Soft drinks are heavily loaded with added sugar. Diet sodas would not be the ideal choice either, sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar, although they have no calories, the human brain responds to sweetness with signals to eat more. The Harvard Nutrition Source explains that diet drinks can make us crave more sweet foods and drinks, which can add up to excess calories.
2. Avoid foods with a high glycemic index
Foods with a high glycemic index quickly release glucose into the blood. The fall is also rapid, which causes a drop in energy and sweet cravings. Potatoes, white bread, refined rice, and highly processed cereals are examples of high-glycemic foods, instead opt for whole grains and other low-glycemic foods like vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
3. Eat fiber and protein
Eating foods rich in fiber and providing protein helps to keep blood sugar levels stabilized. What’s more, protein and fiber make you feel full and satisfied for longer, which also helps reduce cravings.
Chicken, fish, and eggs are protein-rich foods that also promote good sleep. Legumes and whole grains are rich in fiber and also provide protein.
4. Drink water
Lack of water can be mistaken for hunger and sugar cravings. Your cravings for a treat, bread, or cookie can be a sign of dehydration.
When you don’t get enough fluids, it can be difficult for your body to metabolize glycogen (stored glucose) for energy, which is why our bodies crave sugar to provide us with a quick source of energy. But what you really need is to drink water, explains nutritionist Stehanie Kay.
5. Eat enough
Waiting too long between meals such as being dissatisfied can lead to a craving for sugary and greasy foods. Eating less than three times a day increases the risk of overeating and choosing less healthy foods. Try to eat dinner 4-5 hours after lunch.
When you are experiencing cravings and hunger, enjoy healthy food instead of junk food.
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