You probably already know how sugar can damage your body if you ingest too much of it. Sugar is one of the leading contributing factors in diabetes, obesity, heart disease and many other health problems. Nevertheless, it's very common for people to have sugar cravings that they have difficulty ignoring, and knowing all about the many risks involved in eating too much sugar doesn't lessen those cravings any. There are, however, several strategies you can adopt to decrease your sugar cravings. These changes will make you less prone to common diseases and afford you a better opportunity to live a healthy life.
More than likely, you've never even thought about it, but dehydration is mistaken for sugar cravings by many people. If your body lacks proper hydration, it will have difficulty metabolizing glycogen for energy. (source) You may feel as though you want sugar when you should simply drink some more water. To avoid this condition, be mindful of the amount of water you drink, and carry around a bottle of it so that you're regularly consuming enough all day.
Not getting enough sleep has greater ramifications than most people realize. When you don't get enough sleep, your body produces more ghrelin, a hormone that regulates cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. Your body will also produce less leptin, which influences feelings of fullness. When your ghrelin is high and your leptin is low, you'll be more likely to want to eat sugary food to keep yourself awake. Studies show that those who have difficulty getting a full night of rest – approximately eight hours – will struggle with other health problems. You could be at risk of everything from heart disease to high blood pressure, or you may simply find it difficult to concentrate and stay focused through the day. (source)
When you're feeling stressed out, you'll often look for something to comfort you. Perhaps you see a candy bar and feel as if you can escape from your stress in a small way for a short amount of time. This scenario is a common experience because it increases dopamine levels that make you feel happier. Unfortunately, the high that sugar and dopamine create is short-lived, so you'll need another candy bar to feel better again. When you're stressed, adrenaline and cortisol race through your bloodstream to give you the energy you need to work through your problems, but as cortisol levels drop, you also start to feel sluggish, which can cause you to once more need the pick-me-up that sugar provides. (source)
Sugar is addictive and can be dangerous if you consume too much of it. Ensure that your other bodily needs are taken care of so that everything is in place for you to resist this temptation.