As you read this, are you craving chocolate? Are you always just one pasta dish away from the next diet? Do you get nervous when your candy stash gets low?
Sugar cravings and sugar addiction are often related to deficiencies and imbalances in your nutrition. Unfortunately, the typical American diet hides sugar in foods you’d never expect to find it. Condiments and sauces, granola, and yogurt, canned fruit and dried fruit, fruit juices, and even sandwich bread are all processed and infused with sugar to accommodate our super-sweet sensibilities. When it’s all said and done, much of the American population ingests more than 150 pounds of refined sugars every year! Sugar also doesnt just make us fat. Sugar creates inflamation, and inflamation can lead to disease.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
With the right kind of food, in the right combinations, you can change the way you eat, and eventually, how much you weigh (high five)! Here’s how micro and macro nutrients help you combat hidden sugar and assist weight loss:
Macronutrients are proteins, fat, and carbohydrates – the bulk of our diet. They provide energy and sustenance for our bodies. Without macronutrients, we could not stay alive.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the USDA offers official recommendations for three necessary types of macronutrients. If you don’t get the mix right, it’s really difficult to stay healthy.
These official recommendations are:
- Carbohydrates 50%
- Protein 10 – 35 %
- Fats 20 – 35%, with less than 10% coming from saturated fats
Also, it’s important to take into account the amount of exercise you fit in daily. Get ready to do your rounds at Oakland lake Merritt or Lincoln Square!
Additionally, your intake of macronutrients determines how many calories you consume. And calories, you know, control your weight. What you may not know is that the mix of macronutrients you ingest also has a huge effect on sugar cravings.
- Most important, stay away from additives. They artificially increase your appetite and impact calorie consumption. Sugar is one of the worst culprits. Hidden in almost all pre-prepared products, it is not always labeled clearly. Furthermore, it really just piles on calories, without adding anything in terms of nutrition.
- Also, choose the right kinds of carbohydrates, such as complex sugars. This goes a long way in preventing binges on donuts and ice cream. In addition, diets high in protein can accelerate weight loss as well.
- Other aspects affecting macronutrient intake include how you space out your meals (some people fast one day a week, others eat up to 6 small meals a day) and general portion control.
Basically, try to eat your macro nutrients in as pure a form as possible. Visit the oakland or Berkeley Farmer’s Market where farmers bring in fresh products and you can eat directly from farm to table. Or try Oakland’s People’s Grocery to find healthy products for every budget.
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. Many functions of the body’s organs rely on them. Therefore, vitamins in the right combination and levels are essential for the immune system and overall wellbeing.
Micronutrients occur in our food in very small amounts, but small amounts are all our bodies need to function well. Not produced in your body, they must be obtained from a healthy diet or supplements. The following minerals are particularly important for maintaining a healthy weight:
Chromium is part of the Glucose Tolerance Factor which allows insulin to function correctly in your metabolism. A deficiency results in intense sugar cravings.
Obtaining chromium from food sources like asparagus, cheese, lean meats and whole grains is the safest option. Too much chromium interferes with your blood sugar levels. Consult your doctor before supplementing if you have kidney damage or take medication.
Vanadium helps balance your insulin levels by blocking the excess glucose in your fat cells. Make sure you have adequate vanadium intake from parsley, beer, mushrooms, wine, and other products.
If you are supplementing, check with your doctor first for possible interference with your blood tissue.
Magnesium deficiency can create very intense sugar cravings as well. Every cell in your body needs magnesium. It helps stabilize glucose levels, insulin production, and dopamine, the ‘happy’ chemical in your brain. All of which contribute to weight loss and management.
Eat plenty of spinach, nuts, brown rice and soybeans to meet your magnesium needs.
All in all, if you feel you need a candy bar right now, your cravings and weight gain may have their roots in nutrient deficiencies instead of a lack of willpower. Its all connected, so if your not feeling well, try to address it from every angle.
So, head to the kitchen and cook yourself a healthy meal, rich in macro and micronutrients. Reach out to your physician or a nutritional expert regarding supplements that work well. You can find help with supplement reccomendation and purchases through Healing Happens Therapy.
Your body is telling you something. Listen up, feed it well.