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How to Manage Carb Cravings with Diabetes

Food cravings are an unfortunately common occurrence among people with Type 2 Diabetes, and can tempt you to eat foods that are high in carbohydrates which lead to blood sugar spikes.

It’s important to not only manage cravings in a manner that will curtail high blood sugar, but also to prevent them from happening. The first step is identifying your food desires as either true physical hunger, or a craving. Ask yourself, “Am I physically hungry, or do I desire this food because I feel stressed, sad, or tired?”

You may think that your body is craving carbohydrates, but this isn’t always the case! The carb foods you crave most often have a combination of sugar and fat. (Think comfort food: mac and cheese, cookies). This combo satisfies our reward center, as well as other parts of the brain, which in turn decreases the release of stress hormones.

In this way, cravings are a defense mechanism produced by our mind to comfort us in times of stress or depravity. 

The most common causes of food cravings are an irregular eating pattern, or over-restriction of key nutrients. Our body is a well-regulated machine in most instances, and will tell you what you need. For example, if you are at an energy deficit your body will trigger a waterfall of hormones to tell you that you are hungry. (Think: belly grumbles). 

Along the same lines, you may crave protein foods after you have been fasting overnight. You may crave an apple if you have not eaten fruit in a while. Have you ever been on vacation and not eaten enough vegetables, then come home and actually crave veggies?

Drastically restricting key nutrients is the leading cause of cravings in individuals with Type 2 Diabetes.

How to prevent cravings

Adopt a consistent eating pattern.

Whether that means preparing 3 meals a day, adding snacks, or ceasing the habit of grazing, find an eating pattern that is reliable for your hunger level.

Balance meals.

Each of your meals should contain 3 food groups, and each snack 2 food groups. This will ensure you are getting key nutrients and not missing out on anything.

Stop skipping breakfast.

Those who suffer from frequent food cravings can cut them in half by simply eating breakfast. Feeding your body faithfully will keep your metabolism happy and your mind at ease.

Focus on your food.

Eating mindfully rather than multitasking during mealtimes prevents cravings AND lessens stress. By taking your time and immersing your senses in your food, you are noticing the textures, flavors, and aromas. This reduces cravings and makes you more satisfied with your food.

Don’t get too hungry.

When you feel hungry, you are less likely to make nutritious food choices. The cookie monster comes out when you let yourself get too hungry! Feeding yourself consistently will prevent extreme hunger, leading to better food choices, a more stable metabolism, and steady blood sugar.

Avoid over-restricting.

As discussed above, over-restricting of key nutrients such as carbohydrates is a leading cause of food cravings in people with Type 2 Diabetes. If your body feels deprived of something, it will tell you. To lessen food cravings, eat a consistent and balanced diet that nurtures steady blood sugars. If you need help with this, you can message me here.

Choose wholesome foods at least 80% of the time.

Picking wholesome, nutrient dense foods most of the time ensures that you are providing your body with key nutrients it needs to stay healthy. 

Check your emotions and manage stress in a healthy way.

Are you feeling stressed, sad, lonely, bored, tired? Stress and lack of sleep are commonly the cause of food cravings as a coping mechanism. To prevent this, manage your stress inmore helpful ways.

Calm your body by nourishing it with nutritious carb sources.

These carb sources include whole grains like popcorn, whole wheat noodles or bread, quinoa, rice; starchy vegetables, beans, and legumes; milk and yogurt; and fruits. These super nutritious foods provide our body with essential nutrients like fiber, vitamins and minerals. In proper portion sizes, these foods promote healthy blood sugar levels, weight, and more.

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