Tips to Control Sugar Cravings for PCOS
Sugar, glorious sugar!
We are all guilty of indulging in sugar and there is nothing wrong with that. However, there are people who indulge a little too much and too often.
Women with PCOS are prone to sugar cravings. Many women with PCOS are also insulin resistant and this is why controlling sugar cravings is important.
A highly likely cause of PCOS is an overconsumption of sugar. A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates increases insulin levels and leads to fat storage.
In recent years the consumption has increased dramatically. The Western diet is comprised of unhealthy amounts of sugar. Sugar is hiding in many food products we often never expect or believe they are 'healthy' and this adds to the over-consumption of sugar.
What is Insulin
Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas and it has many roles in the body. However, one critical role is to keep blood sugar levels under control.
Cells in the body will burn glucose for fuel, but it will also store some for later use.
Eating a diet high in carbohydrates, especially simple sugars, such as white bread and white rice, increases your blood sugar levels and in turn spikes your insulin. If your blood sugar is constantly elevated and you have too much glucose in your bloodstream it is difficult you body to start burning fat as fuel as it keeps going to carbs as they require immediate action.
The more insulin you secrete, the more likely it is the cells in your body will become resistant to insulin. Which means the cells in your body have difficulty absorbing glucose in the bloodstream. In turn, it will take a lot of insulin to the job it is meant to do, which is to keep blood sugar levels stable. As a result of all of this insulin, your body is storing calories as fat instead of fuel.
Insulin not only causes you to store fat, it also causes inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, resulting in many health risks, such as; high blood pressure, diabetes, infertility, high cholesterol, an increased risk of cancer, thickening of the blood, low HDL, high triglycerides, poor sex drive, depression and Alzheimer’s.
6 Tips to Control Sugar Cravings
Give in a little
Stop restricting and depriving yourself. Our bodies do not like being in state of deprivation. Allow you self to indulge in your cravings, let yourself indulge and enjoy foods it craves and enjoy will help stop you from feeling denied and restricted.
Opt for Low GI Carbs
Just as you distinguish between types of protein and fat, you do the same for carbohydrates. Not all carbohydrates are bad and should be avoided. Several studies have found that carbohydrates from whole grains and cereal fibers reduce the risk of developing diabetes while refined, low-fiber carbohydrates can increase the risk of diabetes.
Choosing low glycemic index carbohydrates will help prevent the increase in blood sugar and spike in insulin levels. Low GI carbs release energy slower and therefore helps manage insulin.
Opt for low GI fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, and whole grains. Choose high fiber and unprocessed grains such as bulgur wheat, quinoa or oats to keep insulin levels low.
Choose Quality over Quantity
If you are looking to indulge and give into your sweet tooth, choose dark chocolate.
Chocolate is made from Cocoa Beans. Cocoa is a rich source of dietary polyphenols and it is the polyphenols that are good for human health and disease.
Polyphenols are phytochemicals, which means these nutrients are found prolifically in natural plant sources and are known for their antioxidant properties.
A group of patients took flavanol-rich dark chocolate (100 g/day for 15 days) and results showed a decrease insulin resistance and an increase insulin sensitivity. Flavanols from chocolate appear to increase nitric oxide bioavailability and research suggests that it is nitric oxide that regulates insulin.
Being physically active help your body use the glucose already in the blood stream and helps with sugar cravings. While any form of exercise is great, current research is continuously finding that having more muscle can improve a person's insulin resistance. Furthermore, having more muscle can reduce the risk of insulin resistance, through increasing insulin sensitivity.
Studies have found that while all forms of exercise can increase insulin sensitivity, resistance training can provide even more benefits as a result of the increase in lean tissue, in turn increasing your overall demand for energy. Researchers have found that each 10% increase in muscle was associated with an 11% relative reduction in insulin resistance.
While you should opt for low GI carbs, it is important that you do not forget about the other 2 macronutrients- protein and fat. To further prevent the spike in insulin levels, combine all three macronutrients in your meals.
While combining all macronutrients will help stabilise your blood sugar levels it also helps keep you satiated and fuller for longer. Not eating balanced meals is another reason for why people get cravings for sugar and indulge.
Avoid Artifical Sweeteners
It is often believed that artificial sweeteners are better than sugar, while they may be in some way, research has found that they do not decrease you sugar cravings.
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