Stop Sugar Cravings With These 7 Bone-Building Foods

Did you realize that when we attempt to control our sugar cravings, most of us think in terms of self-denial? We keep thinking “I really shouldn’t eat so much cake,” or “I wish I could stop eating so many cookies”, sometimes to little or no avail.

But the Save Our Bones philosophy has always been about the positive benefits of foods, not trying to white-knuckle your way through cravings.

Today’s post shows you how you can apply this philosophy as we explore seven ordinary foods (most of which are Foundation Foods) that help you overcome sugar cravings. You’ll also learn about an activity that has been scientifically proven to effectively reduce the sugar-craving cycle.

But first, let’s briefly recap what’s so bad about sugar and what it has to do with bone health.

Sugar By Any Other Name…

It’s important to bear in mind that when I talk about sugar, I am referring to refined, white table sugar and/or its maligned cousin, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). These simple carbs have no nutritional value whatsoever. They are unhealthy forms of sugar that, when consumed excessively, can cause widespread damage throughout your body.

These acidifying sweeteners are not the same as the complex carbs found naturally in fresh fruits and vegetables full of vital nutrients and fiber. So as we go forward, remember that “sugar” refers to sugary, processed junk foods and the like.

And remember, the occasional sweet treat is just fine. What we’re talking about it excessive consumption of sugary foods on a regular basis.

What Sugar Does To Your Bones And Overall Health

There is no body system that remains unaffected by sugar. Your kidneys, liver, pancreas, and your immune, digestive, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems are all influenced by the ingestion of sugar. It even affects your brain, and has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. This is largely due to sugar’s role in the formation of brain-damaging proteins called Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs).

In addition to being acidifying, sugar depletes your bones of minerals. It increases urinary output of magnesium and calcium, and prevents the absorption of bone-building copper.

Plus sugar competes with Vitamin C for absorption, because insulin transports both sugar and Vitamin C into cells. If there is too much sugar, the insulin will carry it across the cell membrane instead of the Vitamin C. This is one of the main ways that sugar attacks the immune system.

If Sugar Is So Bad For Me, Why Do I Crave It?

There are many reasons and theories as to why we crave sugar. Here are a few reasons why your body perceives the need for a sugar fix:

  • Sugar can be comfort food, wrapped up in memories of fun childhood parties and holidays. Sugary treats can evoke memories of a happy time.
  • Low energy can also promote sugar cravings as your body seeks an energy boost. Complex carbs are a healthful way to get that energy, but our brains often prompt us to seek the quickest, sweetest “solution.”
  • Hormonal fluctuations and deficiencies can trigger sugar cravings, because hormones help regulate blood sugar and affect how your body processes energy. Sluggish adrenal glands (the cortisol producers) can prompt a desire for sugar. Interestingly, adrenal glands need lots of Vitamin C to function well, a vitamin that’s depleted in the presence of excessive sugar.
  • Some say that our sugar cravings are hard-wired from our more primitive days, when the only sources of sugar were nutritious foods like fresh fruits and honey. What may have begun as a biological drive toward nutrient-rich foods has become a craving for candy bars.
  • Unstable blood glucose can bring on a desire for sugar as your body tries to correct the imbalance. Low blood sugar can make you crave sweets, but indulging your craving can cause a blood sugar spike followed by another crash and craving.

Beating Sugar Cravings Means Satisfying Your Body’s Needs

The following seven foods help stave off the desire for sugar by filling your body’s health needs and correcting the imbalances that can cause you to want sugar to begin with. Here’s a list of those foods and how they help tame the “sugar beast.”

  1. Beans* contain plenty of fiber and protein as well as the Foundation Supplements boron (found in kidney beans) and magnesium (found in black beans). Protein and fiber are a potent duo for fighting off sugar cravings; both help you feel full for longer. In addition, beans stimulate the small intestine to release a digestive hormone, cholecystokinin, which plays a role in suppressing appetite.

    While most beans are acidifying, that does not mean they cannot be a part of a bone-healthy diet. Lima beans, rich in calcium and magnesium, are alkalizing, as are green beans.

  2. Oats* have a reputation for “sticking to your ribs,” and for good reason. While they are a carbohydrate, oats are a whole food that contains fiber, zinc, manganese, silicon, and important B vitamins. They digest fairly slowly, thus promoting stable blood sugar. Again, oats are acidifying, so enjoying a bowl of cooked oats with fresh fruit or some alkalizing raw honey to add nutrients and balance the pH.
  3. Fish,* especially fatty fish like wild-caught salmon, is rich in anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids. Fish also contains glutamine, an amino acid that plays a role in the manufacture of the Master Antioxidant, glutathione. In addition, glutamine stabilizes blood sugar by suppressing insulin during times of low blood sugar and triggering the release of the body’s glycogen stores to normalize low blood sugar.

    Fish also increases the body’s sensitivity to leptin, a hormone that enhances those parts of the brain responsible for regulation of food cravings.

  4. Apples* keep more than the doctor away – this bone-building fruit also staves off sugar cravings due to its pectin content. Pectin is a form of dietary fiber, but it’s especially good at keeping you feeling full for a long time. Pectin also slows the absorption of apples’ natural sugars, which is illustrative of a point I made earlier: whole foods contain nutrients and compounds that contribute to the proper processing of the sugars they contain.

    You’ll find the majority of apples’ pectin in the peel, so choose organic and eat the whole apple!

  5. Tomatoes* are in season here in the Northern Hemisphere. They’re rich in chromium and serotonin, both key players in the stabilization of blood sugar. Interestingly, chromium deficiency can result in cravings for sugar, and low chromium levels are relatively common.

    Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that promotes communication between brain cells, and a lack of it has been connected to cravings for sugar.

    Tomatoes also contain Vitamin C,and are a rich source of the bone-building polyphenol lycopene.

  6. Cinnamon is a delicious spice that is very effective at keeping blood sugar levels balanced. This is due to the presence of a compound called hydroxychalcone, which facilitates and enhances the action of insulin in the body. Interestingly, cinnamon also decreases the rate at which food leaves the stomach (the gastric emptying rate), so it takes longer for your stomach to be (and feel) empty. Just half a teaspoon a day is enough for these positive effects to take place, so why not sprinkle a generous amount on your morning oatmeal?
  7. Chicory greens (not the root that is often used as a coffee substitute) have a pleasant bitter taste, which, according to traditional Chinese medicine, helps correct an imbalance that might be the culprit behind your sugar cravings. Chicory greens are also rich in B6 (pyridoxine), a Foundation Supplement that is required to metabolize sugar. If there is too much sugar in the system, B6 becomes depleted.

*Foundation Food

In addition to including plenty of the above foods in your daily diet, there’s an easy yet powerful way to stave off sugar cravings, and it’s also essential for bone health: exercise.

Scientifically Proven: Exercise Keeps Sugar Cravings At Bay

A recent study evaluated 47 overweight people with an average age of 28. For three days prior to the study, participants refrained from eating any sugary snacks and drank only water. They also avoided exercise for two hours before their cravings were assessed.

Participants were divided into two groups, one of which walked briskly on a treadmill for 15 minutes and the other group sat still for the same amount of time. Then, study subjects in both groups sat quietly for five minutes before participating in a test that was designed to increase physiological arousal and stress levels.

At that point, all participants were given a piece of candy and told to unwrap it, but not eat it.

Throughout the process, their food cravings and stress levels were measured.

The results showed a clear distinction among the exercise group: they experienced greatly reduced cravings for sweets during and after the trial compared to the sedentary group.1

The results may have to do with the way exercise improves mood and boosts energy levels, both of which affect sugar cravings. In addition, exercise stimulates metabolic processes that “unlock” the body’s blood sugar, making it more available to the brain and reducing the brain’s perceived need for more sugar.

Psychologists who reviewed the above study, caution that eating healthful snacks is important for walking to have its intended effect on sugar cravings. So once again, what you do eat plays as important a role as what you avoid. And walking is just one form of exercise that staves off sugar cravings and builds bone.

All Exercise Is Beneficial

While walking is excellent exercise that’s good for your bones and overall health, targeted exercise that focuses on strengthening fracture-prone areas is also very important in the fight against osteoporosis.

All the benefits of exercise – from less sugar craving to healthier, stronger bones – can be enjoyed by practicing “Densercises” as well. It’s important to practice targeted exercises in order to build bone density, and the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System offers 52 moves that are specifically designed to build stronger bones, tone muscles, improve posture, and more.

So if you want to tackle your sugar cravings from all angles, Densercise™ can be one of your primary weapons alongside the seven key foods described above. And to help you even more, it includes the Densercise™ Eating Guide, which gives you the most healthful foods to eat before and after you Densercise™.

Do you have any tricks and tips for keeping sugar consumption down? Please share with the community by leaving a comment below.

Till next time,

References:

1 Ledochowski, Larissa, et al. “Acute Effects of Brisk Walking on Sugary Snack Cravings in Overweight People, Affect and Responses to a Manipulated Stress Situation and to a Sugary Snack Cue: A Crossover Study.” PLOS One. March 11, 2015. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119278. Web. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0119278

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27 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. Barbara July 6, 2016, 3:38 am

    I was travelling in a friends car and said I would like something sweet like a candy bar. She invited me to eat some of the almonds she had stored in the glove compartment as they would stave off the sugar craving.
    It works!

  2. Marie October 4, 2015, 6:02 pm

    What about condense can milk in coffee with xylitol made from the hardwood North American tree??

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 5, 2015, 12:23 pm

      Hi Marie,
      Condensed milk is still acidifying, since it’s simply milk that’s been concentrated. Xylitol is an acidifying sugar alcohol that is actually highly processed. Because the body does not require insulin to metabolize xylitol, it is mainly used as a sweetener for diabetic patients. So it’s a good idea to stick to bone-healthy, alkalizing sweeteners like stevia and honey.

      Remember, life is sweet!

  3. muriel September 22, 2015, 7:31 am

    I find that I have been helped by buying medjool dates. They seem expensive for a small box, but they are lovely and soft and chewy and really delicious. So when I feel a sugar craving I take 2 or 3 walnut halves and one medjool date (they are quite big) and nibble those. Truly delicious and healthy too, far better than any sugary man-made confectionary.
    I also keep some 75% dark chocolate. Just one square of that is very satisfying eaten slowly and the best bit is that it doesn’t tempt me to keep on eating more the way sweet milk chocolate does.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 22, 2015, 10:27 am

      Thanks for the tips, Muriel!

  4. Mike September 3, 2015, 7:00 am

    Thanks for passing this good information. Please try to use natural sweeteners in your daily diet. Natural sweeteners like Honey. Honey is natural cure for many health issues.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 3, 2015, 11:09 am

      I agree, Mike. Raw, organic honey is alkalizing and has many healthful benefits. But as always, moderation is key. 😉

  5. Christine Foulkes-Taylor August 29, 2015, 10:59 pm

    When I feel like chocolate or icecream, I make myself a cup of coffee (no sugar) & then lie flat on bed & meditate for about 10-15 minutes. I am then revitalised & don’t feel like anything sweet.

  6. Linda C August 26, 2015, 12:28 pm

    Your book makes a lot of sense to me ,In reading your book, I changed to drinking distilled water. Since then, I read a Cancer article from Johns Hopkins Hospital that a lot of water is important but not distilled water because it has too much acid. I’m confused because your book says drink distilled water for bone health. Your book also says your diet should only consist of 20% acid. Can you clear this up? Thank you

  7. Pamela August 26, 2015, 12:10 pm

    Having just had a dexa scan 6 years since the last one I am “cock a hoop” as we say in the UK I still have no osteoporosis in my hips (thank goodness) and my bone density has increased by 1.2% making 17.2% since my first scan in 2009 and NO MEDICATION just want to say how grateful I am Vivian for all your hard work and keeping us informed if I were in Florida I’d come and give you a hug!
    Thank you thank you thank you
    Pamela U.K

  8. Diwamani August 25, 2015, 10:18 pm

    Candida and parasite infections are the major contributing factor in sugar cravings. Do an effective parasite cleanse and you would not believe how your cravings go away and the general taste for other foods will change too! We all have parasites, they are a part of life on this planet, no matter where you are. The key here “effective cleanse”.

  9. shula August 25, 2015, 7:09 pm

    THANKS

  10. Kathy August 25, 2015, 1:55 pm

    I use cocoanut oil instead of fat ( slightly sweeter taste than fat oil ) add a few sultanas,
    Wholemeal flour, also egg if you like, unsweetened almond milk to mix up a scone mix . No added sugar, bake ….cakes come out light and crumbly .

  11. Lynn Carr August 25, 2015, 1:45 pm

    I found that when I am really rested I dont crave too much for sugar. Also I sometimes eat one teaspoonful of honey and this seemed to work for me and stop me from craving sugar. I found bananas sometimes stop me from craving sugar but after two days my cravings return. Besides I found them fattening. Lately I have tried drinking a little vinegar and water and found it helped. But again after a while craving seem to return so I gave up. I found in the end there is nothing better that to suppress your cravings gradually and finally you overcome it. It is not easy but you have to persevere. Also its best to check your sugar level as it is important. I found that getting out of the house early prevents my temptation to eat sweets or cakes as I dont see them and dont carry them with me. Best of luck. Lynn

  12. Louise Osgood August 25, 2015, 12:31 pm

    Can you tell all of us more about brown sugar and honey…Can we convert our recipes to these sugars?

    • Joan Fitzpatrick August 25, 2015, 1:42 pm

      Great, informative article!
      Many thanks
      I would love your take on arthritis (which is just setting in). Taking a pain pill
      at night to sleep. Hands and heels and back bone hurt.

      Thanks
      Joan

  13. Ellen August 25, 2015, 10:23 am

    Years ago, I was getting one cold after another. I mentioned this to a cousin who advised me to stop eating sweets. I actually did that for a year. Stopped having colds and, when I tried eating sugary food, I actually became nauseated! A great preventive for eating sugary, sweet food! Now most sweets don’t even tempt me, though I must confess to being less than faithful to avoiding all sweets!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA August 25, 2015, 10:54 am

      That’s very interesting, Ellen! Sugar does indeed suppress the immune system, so it makes sense that you’d catch fewer colds when you stopped consuming sweets. It sounds like you aren’t having much trouble with sugar temptation these days!

  14. Pamela August 25, 2015, 9:01 am

    Do you know the English equivalent for Chicory beans?
    Another great article Vivian

  15. Eileen R August 25, 2015, 8:48 am

    How does Stevia work in the body and does it cause the same problems thru out the body that sugar does?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA August 25, 2015, 10:48 am

      Hi Eileen,
      Stevia is a completely different substance than sugar. Stevia is an herb, and the white powder you see in stores is an extract from the stevia plant. It contains no glucose, fructose, or sucrose, but instead derives its sweetness from steviosides, a glycoside that is derived from the plant itself.

  16. Eliza August 25, 2015, 8:41 am

    Having a daily drink of fresh lemon juice in warm water (not before brushing teeth) trains taste buds to find sugary foods too sweet

    • SueAnn Carpenter August 25, 2015, 10:50 am

      A bowl of ice cream was always my evening craving. I now freeze bananas as they go “ripe”, even grapes, or any leftover fruit pieces. I use them in blender smoothies and the bananas create an “ice cream” like feel. Just add milk to get your favorite consistency.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA August 25, 2015, 10:45 am

      Interesting, Eliza! Perhaps the sourness of the lemon is such a contrast that mildly sweet foods taste really sweet.

      • Alma McNamara August 25, 2015, 2:26 pm

        Enjoyed your post. What are sultanas? That was mentioned in one of the responses in a recipe for scones.
        I really enjoy your website! Most informative!

        Alma

        • Wendy Lander August 27, 2015, 5:26 pm

          Sultanas are dried white seedless grapes called golden raisins in the US.

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