How Do I Reduce Cravings for Carbs?
Eating carbohydrates, especially those we crave, elevates blood glucose levels. This is something that type 2 diabetics want to avoid! So curbing our craving for carbs is crucial, but how?
Keep in mind that we need to eat carbohydrates as fuel for our cells. But not all carbs are created equal. Some carbs like sugar, white bread, most breakfast cereals, desserts, and some very sweet fruits have a high glycemic index and tend raise blood sugar very rapidly. Other carbs like whole grains, sweet potatoes, vegetables, and berries tend to raise blood sugar levels more slowly and not as high.
Why do we crave carbs? When we think of craving carbs, we’re often referring to “sweets.” For one thing, sweet things taste good! Other carbs with a high glycemic value like white bread, muffins, potatoes, white rice and pasta may also trigger the craving.
When we consistently eat these high glycemic foods, the pancreas counters the speedy influx of sugar to the blood stream by producing more insulin. The insulin’s job is to move the sugar out of the blood stream and into the cells. When this happens, blood sugar levels plunge and we get a craving for something sweet again and the cycle continues. This cycle is especially harmful for a person with type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that we can break that cycle. The bad news is we often don’t want to! But like the old adage goes, “We can’t continue doing the things we’ve always done and expect different results.” We’ve got to make changes.
Here are five ways to reduce your cravings for carbs:
- Determine to make a lifestyle change and stick with it. Believe it or not, our minds can override our physical cravings! Simply set limits, make decisions, plan your meals and snacks and stay with it. This step is necessary if you want to break the vicious cycle described above.
- Stay away from all sweet, flavored drinks. These are one of the worst foods for diabetics! The sweetened beverage enters the bloodstream even faster than solid foods and will perpetuate the craving for carbs. Even though some diet drinks tout zero calories and no carbs, their sweet taste still sends the message to the pancreas to make more insulin. Drink water and unsweetened herbal teas instead.
- When a craving for carbs comes, satisfy the craving with a low glycemic carb. We may not think of these low glycemic carbs as satisfying that craving because they take longer for the body to process, but they will. Instead of grabbing a donut, chips, or candy bar, satisfy your craving with fresh berries, nuts, seeds, or raw vegetables.
- Make good choices easy and convenient to make. Chips, crackers, candy and other sugar-loaded carbs are packaged for convenience and we can learn something from that. Make your healthy snacks convenient. Have cut-up fresh vegetables readily available in the fridge. Keep nuts, seeds, berries and other low glycemic fruits around. Use disposable, sealable bags or other reusable containers to take these snacks with you.
- Eat consistently at regular mealtimes. The pressures of life may tempt us to skip breakfast or work right through lunch or supper. Then we find ourselves compelled to satisfy our craving with a snack that’s readily available. Unfortunately, those snacks typically come from a vending machine, fast food restaurant, or some highly processed, packaged carb. By maintaining regular meal times, we avoid that dilemma and can plan our meals in a healthy way.
It may take your body two or three weeks to adjust to the changes in diet you make, but eventually you will adjust and those cravings will subside.