Curbing Your Sweet Tooth (without giving up sweets)

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Written By

Lauryn

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Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Jelly Babies Gum Babies Sweets Candy 39527 | Curbing Your Sweet Tooth (Without Giving Up Sweets)

“I just need something sweet.”

“I like to have a little something sweet after dinner to finish off my meal.”

“I crave chocolate!”

“I found this awesome Halo Top ice cream that only has 240 calories!”

—Conversations I have with clients on a near daily basis.

There’s no denying “sweet teeth” are rampant in our modern day society, where nearly 80-percent of foods in our grocery stores are manmade products, many with hidden sugars keeping you (and your body) totally dependent on needing more sugar to function.

In fact, you’ve probably heard statistics like “sugar is 8 times as addicting as cocaine” and “Americans consume an average of 3 pounds of added sugar every week.”

Enter: Popular diet programs like the 21 Day Sugar Detox; I Quit Sugar and the Whole 30 to the rescue—encouraging you to do the one thing you don’t want to do…totally give up sweets.

The beauty of these programs is that they truly allow you to see for yourself just how much sugar and sweets impact not only your physical health (i.e. blood sugar imbalances, shakiness or hanger before meals, headaches or afternoon crashes), but also your psyche—your emotions and mental belief that you neeeeeeeed sugar to function.

The not-so-pretty aspects of such programs?

For some, completely “giving up sugar” only keeps you fixated on one thing—getting more sugar.

Sure you can stick it out for 7, or 21, or 30 days—whatever time frame is prescribed—but through it all, the only thing you are really looking forward to at the end is one thing: sugar.

Do you neeeeeeed sugar?

I don’t know. Do you?

Why You (think) You Need Sugar to Function

Unfortunately, the answer may be “yes.”

Often times in the case of “blood sugar imbalances,” when you train your body to run off a steady state of sugar, artificial sweeteners carbohydrates—even “healthy” foods, and.or eat a lower fat diet, you run the risk of falling into the intense sugar cravings along with other common side effects—like impaired digestion, leaky gut, PCOS, PMS, a “slow” metabolism, insatiable appetite, the need to snack between meals, feeling “low blood sugar” if you go longer than 2 to 3 hours between meals, afternoon dips (and naps required), and caffeine cravings—just to name a few.

In other words: Your body only knows what it knows, and to date, you may have trained it to now one thing—how to run off of carbohydrates and sugars—even the “good ones.”

Often times individuals with “blood sugar imbalances” (and that insatiable) sweet teeth are eating a diet rich in whole grains, beans, low-fat starches, artificially sweetened or diet products (Quest Bars, Halo Top, fat free yogurt, diet soda), fruits and vegetables.

And often times a key ingredient is missing—at least in plentiful amounts to balance out the “sugar” punch your bod is getting: Fat.

Protein may be present. Or protein and veggies (think chicken and broccoli). But often times enough fat is not around, and without enough fat your energy systems are turned on to “run off” (and demand) more sugar to function, since fat is minimal.

In other words: Your sugar cravings (or snack cravings and need for frequent small meals lest you get hangry) are your body’s “norm” because it’s not getting enough of its first preferred source of fuel—fat.

(And despite any fear you may have hearing that word “fat,” fat does NOT make you fat).

Your Body’s Preferred Source of Fuel

Want to curb your sweet tooth?

Pump up the fat.

Contrary to popular belief, fat does NOT make you fat. Quite the opposite, fats:

  • Boost your metabolism (allow your body to use and burn energy more efficiently)
  • Make your cells super-duper strong to combat disease and leave out foreign invaders and inflammation
  • Boost brain power, mental clarity and focus
  • Enhance your energy
  • Allow you to go longer between meals without energy dips or getting “hangry”
  • Decrease inflammation in your body
  • Aid in digestion—lubricating your digestive tract to allow food to pass through more smoothly

(Lots of wins if you ask me)

If and when you get enough fat in your diet—and a variety of healthy fats at that—you naturally experience less cravings, less fatigue, less ‘brain fog’ and less bloating and constipation

Fats to reach for?

  • Coconut
  • Coconut butter and coconut oil
  • Coconut yogurt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Ghee
  • Grassfed butter
  • Animal Fats: Tallow, lard, duck fat
  • Pastured Egg Yolks
  • Organic grass-fed and pastured animal meats
  • Raw nuts and seeds (in moderation, 1 serving/day)
  • Walnut Oil
  • Hemp Oil
  • Flaxseed
  • Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 Avocado or guacamole
  • Avocado Oil
  • Avocado Oil Mayo
  • Palm Shortening
  • Full fat fermented dairy (grass-fed, raw, organic)

Incorporate one to two servings of fats with your meals, and/or snacks to start kicking your dependent I-need-sweets-or-I-can’t-function-like-a-human moments to the curb.

The best part? You can have your cake and eat it too.

Curbing Your Sweet Tooth (Without Giving Up Sweets)

As you boost your fatty acid intake a little bit more, sugar cravings naturally go down.

While you may still have some emotional eating ties to break, checking in with yourself and asking yourself self-care questions can help you fight through those nitty-gritty sugar craving moments.

Ask yourself: “How am I nourishing my body?” Or, “What would the healthy, thriving (optimal) version of myself do or choose to do in this situation” when the “sugar dilemma” arises.

Occasionally, I bet that girl would have her cake and eat it too—and be ok with one slice, not the whole cake or pie.

Other times, that girl would probably realize, “You know what, I am reaching for chocolate because it’s a habit—not because I am really hungry or needing it. I had some chocolate yesterday, but I don’t neeeeeeeeeed it everyday.”

Bonus Fro Yo

Aip Fro Yo | Curbing Your Sweet Tooth (Without Giving Up Sweets)

While you’re at the whole “re-balancing” your blood sugar (and adding in those healthy fats), you’ve got to try this “have your cake and eat it too” homemade fro-yo recipe!!! (and if you don’t have a yogurt maker or Instant Pot, I’ve included a non-ice-cream-maker edition).

Ingredients

  • 4 cups coconut cream or coconut milk
  • 2 capsules probiotics (powder)
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 4 glass jars

Directions

  1. Divide the coconut cream or milk and probiotic powder evenly between each of your jars and mix well, then cap the jars.
  2. Place in a yogurt maker or Instant Pot with yogurt setting and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for yogurt. (Instant Pot=12 hours).
  3. Refrigerate until cool.
  4. Stir the honey into the yogurt and then run through an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. No Ice Cream Maker Salted Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut butter
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Full Fat Coconut Milk

Directions

  1. Heat all of the ingredients in a sauce pan.
  2. Whisk (or blend in a blender if you want) until smooth in the pan.
  3. Let completely cool in fridge.Place ingredients in a meatloaf or bread pan.
  4. Soften in fridge before consuming.

 

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