When a sugar craving hits, it’s tempting to raid the pantry for all the cookies and candy you can get your hands on. But if you’re someone who has an active sweet tooth, you don’t want to be loading up on those unhealthy desserts too often.
A high-sugar diet can cause weight gain, increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, as well as higher risk of depression. New U.S. federal dietary guidelines suggest 50 grams of sugar per day — the equivalent of a can of soda. However, the average American consumes over 75 grams per day, making it even more important to find ways to cut down on sugar in your diet.
Indulging in a sweet treat here and there can be satisfying, but if you’re craving sugar day in and day out, you need to find other options to satisfy your sweet tooth. Try these six substitutes instead, which can nix your craving without all the negative side effects.
Cinnamon can help curb cravings for sweets because it can help level out your blood sugar, according to a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food. Add cinnamon to your oatmeal or coffee to add a little sweetness while keeping your blood sugar levels at bay.
2. Dark Chocolate
If you’re someone who often craves chocolate, opt for the dark variety instead. Dark chocolate 70 percent cocoa or higher often contains little-to-no sugar, and it contains antioxidants that can help lower your blood pressure, fight off cancer, and more.
Raspberries and blackberries are fruits with some of the lowest sugar content, but they’re still sweet enough to satisfy that craving. They are also high in fiber and can keep your memory sharp, boost your heart health, and help you manage your weight, according to Everyday Health.
4. Frozen Banana
Instead of reaching for some ice cream or a popsicle, eat a frozen banana instead, either whole or blended up into a creamy ice cream substitute. Bananas are low in calories, high in fiber, and can help with your heart health as well as regulate your digestion.
5. Greek Yogurt and Honey
Greek yogurt is a protein-filled snack that, topped with honey, makes a great substitute for dessert. Honey is a good option for an all-natural sweetener, as its an antibacterial filled with vitamins and minerals.
6. Almond Butter
Spread some almond butter on toast for a filling treat loaded with protein and healthy fats that will keep you satiated for throughout the day. If you want to add a little more sweetness, consider mixing in some cocoa powder or grade B maple syrup for added flavor.
7. Blended Watermelon
Blend some watermelon in the blender for a cool treat that not only tastes like a sugary drink, but that will keep you hydrated throughout the day. Watermelon is also low on the glycemic index, meaning it has a very small effect on your blood sugar levels and won’t cause a drastic rise or drop in your glucose or insulin response.
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