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973741 tn?1342342773

Dieting and still fulfilling sweet tooth

So, if you love the sweets like I do, how do you get that sense of having a sweet treat and still sticking to your diet?  What are your tips and what do you recommend?
3 Responses
649848 tn?1534633700
COMMUNITY LEADER
I'm running into the same issue lately.  I was never really a sweets eater, but for the past few months, that seems to be what I'm craving.  

I read an article the other day that said if we're craving sweets or salty things, there's a good chance we're dehydrated and need water more than the food we're craving.  IDK if that's really true or not, but I sometimes find that if I postpone eating anything when the craving hits and drink water instead, I, often end up losing the craving.  

I also find that eating sweets puts my blood glucose levels on something of a "roller coaster" because that treat will increase glucose levels, which causes a large production of insulin that, in turn causes glucose to plummet.  If I eat a piece of fruit, like an apple or some berries, etc, I feel like I've eaten my sweet treat but at least it was healthy one and my glucose levels don't go all whacko like they would if I eat something with a bunch of sugar.

Another thing I've learned is to use spices to add sweetness to things - like cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, ginger, etc.   I love cinnamon, so a slice of pineapple or a couple of pineapple chunks with cinnamon sprinkled on them is an awesome treat.  Apples and pears also go well with cinnamon.  I use ginger and/or cloves in tea, which adds a bit of kick along with making it taste a bit sweeter.  It just so happens that cinnamon is good for helping control glucose levels, too.

A small fruit smoothie made with coconut milk, frozen strawberries, a dash of cinnamon or small chunk of fresh ginger makes a really good treat for me.

I do find that if I eat a small amount of fat with whatever I'm snacking on, I won't eat as much and feel more satisfied.  That's why I often use a small amount of full fat coconut milk in my smoothies, oatmeal or even in my cereal.  I know some people will say that the fat isn't good for you, but *I* find that I lose weight faster/easier if I add coconut milk or coconut oil to my diet on a daily basis.  The coconut milk is also somewhat sweet so it can help satisfy that craving.  Avocados also help squelch my cravings for sweets, even though they aren't particularly sweet.

We also don't think of chocolate as being "healthy" but a square of dark chocolate (vs milk chocolate) is a healthy treat as well.

Some of the sweeter veggies can also do the trick - carrot or celery sticks, sweet red, orange or yellow peppers, etc.  

Once I get used to eating things that don't have sugar in them, other things tend to actually taste sweeter.
134578 tn?1578157483
In my case, I think with quarantine and everything about daily life being so different, I'm craving sweets as comfort food. I'm more worried, and though less busy (not on the go every day all day) I'm not even getting much done at home. This makes the cheats I do towards sweets more damaging, since the times I sneak one sugared soda don't get burned off by being active. I'm sure I've put on fat at my waistline, and that points to sugar.

I used to have a rule that if I was hungry and it was a traditional mealtime, I had to eat the (savory) meal before I snacked on anything junky or sweet. I think I'll dust that one off and abide by it again; we've been a bit random with mealtimes in quarantine. Also, to avoid eating or drinking the sweet stuff, I eat nuts, celery sticks, applesauce, and there is a square jar that Del Monte prepares of 64 ounces of grapefruit wedges peeled and ready to eat, that are sweet and refreshing. (Available in the refrigerator case of the produce section at Safeway, near the pre-boxed salads.) I also find coffee with cream to be a way to buy off the soda craving, probably because it works as a substitute for my real bad boy of choice Dr. Pepper, which has plenty of caffeine. (The cream makes the coffee rich and also keeps it from being necessary to add sugar to make the coffee a treat.) We've lately also been buying fresh cherries, in season and taste wonderful, and of course they are also the desired dark color for all those important antioxidants. I've also been eating a lot of avocado with hot sauce, they help with keeping me feeling full and the zest of the tabasco distracts from the original impulse to load up on sugar.

Good luck with it, sugar is so addictive. Please write what works for you, I can always use better ideas. :)
1 Comments
I love those sweet cherries when they're in season.   I bought a bag of them not too long ago, but I couldn't eat them fast enough and had to toss quite a few of them - husband doesn't eat fruit.  I do keep frozen ones in the freezer to use in my fruit smoothies.

Love the idea of putting Tabasco sauce on avocado.  I've never thought to do that, but am always looking for ways to eat them, besides, the plain old salt and pepper.  
649848 tn?1534633700
COMMUNITY LEADER
I've read that some vitamin/mineral deficiencies can cause us to crave sweets, as well.  Zinc, magnesium and chromium are some of the main ones.

Even bacterial imbalance in the stomach/intestines can cause sugar cravings.  
14 Comments
I think I'll dig out my magnesium supplements again. Used to take them with B3 for headaches, and lately some things I've been reading (about various small symptoms I have) have suggested magnesium.
I take magnesium daily (500 - 1000 mg) for severe muscle cramps.  I did test deficient in magnesium a couple of years ago, but since I take such a large dosage, I can't still be deficient.  Unfortunately, it doesn't help with my muscle cramps.  

I also tested deficient in zinc and chromium, but those were never followed up on and no one ever told me how much to take.  

Chromium is also supposed to help with blood glucose control and zinc boosts the immune system.
RDA for zinc looks like 8 mg., but check the fact sheet:
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

And here is the fact sheet for chromium. Its RDA is much smaller than zinc.
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Chromium-HealthProfessional/
The thing that bothers me with some of these supplements is that they contain many times more than the RDA, but only contain a fraction of the RDA for other nutrients.   For instance, too much zinc depletes copper, but the supplement I have for zinc contains 35 mg zinc, which (according to the bottle) is 200% of the DV.  It also contains 300 mcg copper, which (according to the bottle) is only 15% of DV.  
BTW - thanks for the fact sheets.
Barb, the reason supplements are so high even when they are low by supplement standards is because supplements never are absorbed as well as nutrients in food.  We have evolved to eat food and assimilate our nutrients that way.  We did not evolve to take isolated nutrients synthetically created in labs.  So you add more to a supplement to make sure you get enough of it before you evacuate it to get into your system.  With toxic nutrients like zinc, the dosages are always rather low, same with copper.  Enough is necessary, too much can be a problem.  As for the magnesium, if it doesn't help with the cramps, don't take it.  It is leaching calcium out every time you take it unless you're still deficient in it.  You might also be taking a form of it your body isn't able to assimilate -- that's why there are so many different chelations available.  Oxide isn't useful for most people, though it is cheapest.  I use magnesium for muscle cramps caused by taking antidepressants, but I'm not on them anymore.  It worked for those, but isn't working for the ones I'm getting now when I'm no longer on the med.  Sometimes it's potassium, not magnesium, and sometimes it's from another reason altogether.  Basically, most supplements contain a lot more than the RDA.  This is because of the absorption factor I mentioned but also because those who believe in supplements believe the RDAs are more political than real.  It's very interesting that doctors seldom use supplements or know much about them except to warn us not to take them because their education is designed by pharmaceutical companies and teachers paid by them.  But veterinarians use them a lot.  Says something, I think.  In Eastern medicine, for what it's worth, they think sugar cravings are caused by a diet or lifestyle that's too yang.  Sweets are very yin in their system.  For me, I got into sweets as I got into my anxiety disorder.  It limited my life so much that sugar was a simple way of having an intense experience, and I have a nature that loves intense experiences.  Also ruined my teeth, so I don't recommend it.
So, in Chinese medicine if a person is too yang, what is the recommendation?
(I mean, if there are recommended teas, or herbs, or exercises or meditations, recommended if one's yang is overbalancing one's ying, I'd be glad to try them.)
Paxiled - yes I understand about the absorption factor and I do have absorption issues and probably need to more than most people to get adequate amounts - however, I've seen some supplements that say they have up to 1000% or more of the RDA, which certainly seems like overkill.  

As for doctors not using supplements - my primary almost always recommends trying a supplement before going to prescription medications.  My neuro also was one that recommended the magnesium for my cramps, along with tonic water, which as we know contains quinine.  Of course, the quinine causes problems on its own.  The magnesium I'm taking now has several different forms in it but you're right - the oxide form does, basically, nothing.  The fact that the magnesium isn't working for my cramps makes my chiropractor believe that they're caused by something systemic and that my pcp needs to figure out what it is.  I've tried potassium, but it increases my level too much - even had prescription potassium for a while, but couldn't break those down.  

AnnieBrooke... from what I've read, yin is dark, cool and feminine and yang is warm, light and masculine.  "yin foods are those that generate cold or cool energy in the body, such as watermelon, bitter gourd, crab and most green vegetables".  "Yang foods, such as red meat, ginger, pepper and garlic, generate warm or hot energy."  
Here's a chart that shows yin and yang foods:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/386183736776911979/

Here's an interesting read about yin/yang diet: http://www.akupunkturakademin.se/images/Akapunkturakademins%20artikelserie/jcm94_50_yinyangdiet.pdf

Green tea is a yin food, black tea would be yang.  Going by that, green tea would be what you'd need.  

But then I found this:
"Honey and cinnamon:

Ingredients: 1 spoon cinnamon powder, 2 spoons honey, and 1 glass of water.

Directions: Put the first two ingredients into 1 glass of water.

Benefits: Drink it 30 minutes before breakfast and bedtime daily. By doing so it could help prevent the fat accumulation in your body even though you are eating high-calorie foods."  

Can't we all use something to help prevent fat accumulation?  The problem is that it will prevent fat accumulation; it doesn't say whether it will help get rid or existing fat.  

I also read that yoga is good for increasing yin.  No wonder I did better when I was doing yoga.  
Glad to hear about yoga -- I wrote "exercises and meditation" above because I thought Chinese medicine wouldn't include yoga. Might be time for me to get going with it. The cinnamon-and-honey drink sounds good, but maybe too good to be true? (Can't be that easy, right? lol)
Chinese medicine doesn't actually include yoga, but Indian medicine (********) and Chinese medicine have very similar principles.  In China they of course are now part of the global world, but traditionally they were very isolationist.  Or you might say arrogant, as they believed China was the Middle Kingdom, the center of the universe.  But in reality most "Chinese" herbs aren't from China at all, many are from India or Russia or other parts of the world that they give Chinese names to, so they were never as isolated as is made out.  It's very hard to get a grasp on yin and yang.  You really have to read six or seven books on Chinese medicine to get any sense of it, and reading about Chinese medicine is a bit like reading Marx or Hegel -- nobody's really ever understood it.  Yang, on a simple scale, is masculine energy.  Think of hard things, for example.  Yin is feminine evergy, think of light and airy.  Of course, this is sexist so ignore the male and female part of it, but it's pretty complicated.  It's been made even more complicated by those who follow the macrobiotic diet, created in Japan but popularized in the US and Western Europe, which uses different definitions of what's yin and what's yang but is very influential in reading about this stuff in the US.  Sugar is very yin.  The most yin are things like pot and opium that get you high.  Yang is meat and root vegetables, as example.  But the answer for Chinese medicine would be to stop eating foods that are too yin and stop doing things and thinking things that are too yin and move to the center between the two for proper balance.  They say the center is brown rice.  In China, instead of yoga they do tai chi and chi gong.  Chi gong are warmup exercises and tai chi is basically slow motion kung fu.  Now, kung fu came with Buddhist missionaries from India, but don't tell that to a Chinese person.  Legend has it that a Buddhist monk wandered over from India to convert the Chinese and asked to go to the most sacred place, which was the Taoist Shao Lin monastery in the mountains.  He tried to teach them to meditate Buddhist style rather than Taoist style, and found they couldn't sit that way for very long so he taught them some Indian martial arts.  That became kung fu, and that began tai chi which is what you will see Chinese people doing all the time in the parks in groups.  Not so much yoga, but based on the same principles of centering yin and yang and balancing chi, or prana in India.  See?  Easy, huh?  Now, if you eat something really yin, you can balance it temporarily by eating something really yang.  But the goal would be to say close to the center the vast majority of the time.
God, they censored ayur-veda again.  It's one word, it's the traditional form of medicine in India, and MedHelp seems to believe and has for years that it's a dirty word or something.  Made it very hard to have discussions on the alternative medicine forums!
Oh, and yin and yang aren't separate from one another.  They are on a continuum, as the symbols for yin and yang demonstrate. Yin turns into yang and vice versa.  Eastern philosophy sees the world as circular, not linear as we do in the West.  Things go around and around until you are able to escape this world and the cycle of rebirth and become enlightened, in which case you lose your human body and become whatever you become after that.
Barb, the reason for some supplements being so high in dosage is for two reasons.  One is if you're treating a specific problem, and then it's like medicine, you take a lot for the time necessary to resolve the issue.  But a lot of it is based on those who believe if you just take enough nutrients in you will prevent cell death and live forever.  Linus Pauling was looking for this when he studied Vitamin C, for example.  These folks are willing to take what might be toxic amounts of stuff to see what happens.  I avoid mega doses, but still take high doses just because low ones aren't absorbed very well.  But I don't personally use myself as a guinea pig.  If you want to see folks who do, look up the Life Extension people.  They make some high quality supplements and are often on top of new herbs the West didn't know about, but they are openly going overboard in the belief they can improve their minds and life spans doing so.  If it turns out badly, they're willing to go there.  I don't recommend it for everyone, but scientists do this all the time, using themselves as guinea pigs, so it is what it is.
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