Low-carb Keto diet can be extremely grueling especially if you love your sugars, pastas or breads. The average diet is designed around carbs and most meals include some form of grain- or sugar-based food. So, our body has adapted to such a high dependence on carbs and sugars. Find out simple ways to fight sugar cravings for weak days.
Evidently switching to a completely opposite diet and reducing the sugar content drastically will have its repercussions. Many people report cases of withdrawal symptoms and get strong cravings for sugar and carbs.
In fact, these cravings may even lead to irritability, lack of energy and depression, if they are not dealt with properly.
Keeping this in mind, we have compiled a list of “tricks” that you can follow to stave away these cravings and continue with your diet with aplomb.
1. Don’t Starve Yourself
The biggest people make during a Keto-diet is that they not only reduce the amount of carb they consume but also reduce their overall calorie intake. These creates panic in the body, which goes on starvation mode and triggers strong craving for immediate energy in the form of sugars and carbs. So, make sure while you restrict carb intake, do not reduce your calorie intake drastically. Consume protein and healthy-fats to meet the calorie gap.
2. Eat More Protein
Consuming more protein, one of the most essential macro-nutrients in the body, is a great way to suppress appetite. The body takes longer to break protein and thus feels full longer. Additionally, shortage of protein can lead to muscle loss, which may slow down metabolism and reduce the rate of burning calories. So, do include more protein such as lean meats (including turkey, chicken, pork, etc.), fish, eggs, tofu, and soy, in your meals.
3. Add More Healthy Fats with Your Proteins
While, eating excess healthy fats (such as avocados, olive oil, ghee, nuts, canola oil, coconut oil, etc.) is anyways encouraged in Keto, having more of it with protein can further help in suppressing overall appetite and sugar cravings. Additionally, healthy fats help in promoting the production of essential hormones in the body, including sex hormones and fat burning hormones (epinephrine and nor-epinephrine).
Yes, there is a concern that eating excess fat may lead to serious health problems in the long-run, however, please note that it is only when the fat is consumed with carbs. Fats, by themselves, are not harmful, especially if eaten as per Keto guidelines.
4. Have Multiple Mini-meals to Stabilize Insulin Levels
Sugar and starch cravings are usually preceded by a drop in insulin levels. This might happen if your calorie intake is concentrated and spaced out by more than 3 hours. Thus, eat several mini-meals within every 3 hours to avoid any dip in insulin levels and stave off hunger pangs.
5. Load up on Vegetables
The healthiest way to stay full though is to load up on (low starch) vegetables. They are rich in essential minerals and fiber, and have an extremely low calorie and carb count. In fact, two bowls of veggies add only 200 calories but keep you full longer.
If you don’t like all veggies, just load up on the ones you prefer and give yourself a target to eat every day. Find some interesting ways to carry around more vegetable-based meals here.
Bonus tip – Hydrate!
You must have heard it many times by now, but it goes without saying that water is the best appetite suppressant. A gallon of water a day will keep you sufficiently full to suppress any unnecessary cravings.
You can make it interesting by giving yourself hourly water-drinking targets. Make marks on your water bottle or jugs for the amount of water you need to drink every hour. Reward yourself with non-food awards (such as an hour of TV, a massage, a trip to the cinema, etc.) whenever you successfully complete the day’s target.
The biggest challenge with fighting sugar and starch cravings is the availability of healthy Keto meals to fight any urges. The local grocery store, restaurants or the office pantry/snack counter are all filled with foods loaded in sugar and starch. The best way to fight cravings is to carry healthy alternate meals instead. Try these 5 meal ideas that are portable and extremely comfortable to prepare and carry anywhere you go!