4 Unhealthy Snacks That Make Your Sugar Cravings Worse – Eat This, Not That
When you’re hungry, the easiest thing to do is grab the most convenient food. Although they can be beneficial for preventing hunger, easy-to-get snacks tend to come pre-packaged with easy-to-open and devour wrappers, and most of the time aren’t too healthy. When you’re craving something sweet, it’s easy to knock a highly processed product out of its packaging, but does that satisfy your craving or make it worse?
Although the intention of a snack is to fill you up and satisfy you, there are some that do the exact opposite. We asked the dietitians on our Medical Expert Council what they think are the most unhealthy snacks that will only make your sugar cravings worse. One thing they had in common was that sugary snacks are one of the worst snacks to eatas well as other types.
“In my opinion, the number one health issue in this country right now is the crazy excess of added sugar in our food supply (and your diet),” says Laura BuracMS RD CDNfounder of GetNaked® Nutrition and automatic
Burak goes on to claim that foods with excess sugar can cause your blood sugar levels to rise and fall rapidly, then signal your body to seek more. Sugary foods also release those “feel-good” brain chemicals like dopamine that make you want to keep eating them.
For the specific types of snacks that make sugar cravings worse, keep reading. Then, for more on unhealthy snacking, check out 6 Unhealthy Snacks to Avoid When You’re Craving Salt.
“While many of us think it’s healthy to start the day with cereal for breakfast or even a cereal snack for an energy boost, many cereals are sweetened with sugar, don’t contain no fiber and is equivalent to eating cookies,” says a medical expert. Lisa YoungPhD, RDN Author of Finally full, finally thin and The teller plan.
Young advises that these cereals contain no fiber or protein. For this reason, they cause your blood sugar levels to rise rapidly. She suggests if you want a breakfast cereal as a snack or in the morning, aim for a cereal that has at least 3g of fiber with as little added sugar as possible, or preferably no added sugar.
“Eating sugary foods accustoms your body to the sweet taste. So if you are used to having a soda with your meal every day and you skip it, your body will crave that sugar,” says an expert medical. Toby AmidorMS, RD, CDN, FAND, author of Diabetes Build Your Plate Meal Prep Cookbook.
Young says sodas and other sugary drinks are lacking in nutrients and are pure sugar. You’ll immediately digest the liquid calories, so you’ll crave more sugar after downing a big soda.
“We also don’t recognize that we’ve eaten anything before and we don’t feel satisfied,” Young says.
“If you like to keep candy in your purse or car to snack on, this might not be the best idea,” says Amidor. “That puff of sugar is quickly digested and gets your body used to all that sweetness.”
Amidor suggests if you want a better-for-you snack, pair sweet dried fruit with nuts in homemade trail mix. The fat and protein in nuts will slow the digestion of sugar and keep you happier.
“Sugar can be both mentally and physiologically addictive, which is why a few candies easily turn into several handfuls and you literally feel like you can’t stop,” Burak says. “Snacks made mostly of sugar like candy, chocolate, cookies, muffins, and even breakfast cereals can make your sugar cravings worse and harder to stop.”
“Candies and other sweets are pure sugar and the more you eat of them, the more you crave them,” says Young. “Because they contain pure sugar with no other nutrients, they don’t fill you up and cause your blood sugar to spike, making you want more.”
However, if you feel like you need a small piece as a treat, Young suggests spreading it out and eating it after a meal containing fiber and protein.
Although sugary snacks are the common denominator for accentuating the worst sugar cravings, Burak also says salty snacks like chips and pretzels are also in the running. Indeed, they are mainly made up of simple carbohydrates and can lead to consuming them in excess.
“Choose higher quality snacks that contain protein to help stabilize blood sugar, like nuts paired with fruit or cheese paired with whole grain crackers, and they will help you feel satisfied and close the gap until ‘to the next meal,” Burak says.
Kayla Garritano is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That! She graduated from Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and earned a double minor in Marketing and Creative Writing. Read more