Stop Craving Sweets by Managing Your Energy

If you find that you are struggling to stick to a diet then it may well be because you are snacking and eating chocolate bars or crisps out of the cupboard. While there are many reasons that we do this, often it boils down to the simple fact that we are low on energy and our body thus starts to look for treats to boost the energy levels. This is bad news because it means we start craving sugar foods and carbs – which are high in energy and which can help to give us that ‘surge’ we need.

At the same time, this is also bad because it creates a vicious circle; you eat chocolate because you’re depressed, and this then actually causes you to have an energy trough later on making you more distressed. The problem with simple carbs as we’ve discussed elsewhere in this book is that they release sugar very quickly into the blood stream thus resulting in us having a sudden energy spike followed by a trough with no energy once our body has caused an insulin spike in order to use up all the blood sugar.

Complex Carbs

To prevent yourself feeling down in the first place then and having that craving, it’s important to keep your blood sugar generally stable. To this end you should eat complex carbs – particularly early in the day, but also as small occasional snacks. Rather than eating big meals – which leaves you too long without fresh energy – you should eat five or six smaller ones that include things like healthy sandwiches and fruit which will help you to maintain your energy levels. This will then also help you to be more likely to want to work out when you get back home.


Other Foods

Meanwhile you should avoid eating saturated fats early in the day before your workout. Saturated fats are slow and difficult for the body to break down and digest and for this reason they leave us drained of energy and unable to train when we want to. Conversely having lots of fiber and water in your diet will help to keep your blood vessels free and your energy flowing around your body which again will help to keep you energized and ready to go. Stick to fiber and complex carbs and you’ll feel energetic and ready to go rather than tired and in need of chocolate.

Another one to avoid is sweetener. The reason for this is that it tricks the body into thinking you’ve just eaten sugar, and as a result this causes an insulin spike using up all of the blood sugar that we did have.


Meanwhile you also need to think about how your lifestyle affects your energy levels. When you are low on energy because you are tired your body will crave sugar, even if you have eaten more than enough already.

Aspects of your lifestyle which can cause low energy include simply not getting enough sleep (or not getting enough quality sleep) or even just low mood. Look at your lifestyle and how it affects your energy levels and then think about how you could better manage that energy to keep yourself awake and alert so you don’t need the sugar hit.

Daniel Harford is a member of the diet team on and analyzes the nutritional content of food. He also delivers group sessions on dieting to a variety of audiences, including children and patient groups.

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