Ask A Nutritionist (March/April 2008) – Sugar Cravings


“As my mileage increases, so does my cravings for snacks.  Any suggestions on snacks to satisfy the sweet cravings?”

A couple things could be going on here.  The more you run, the number of calories needed increases to satisfy both the increased caloric expenditure during exercise and an increased metabolism after exercise.

Food cravings indicate that you might not be getting enough food, or not getting enough of the right types of food.  Cravings for sugar indicate possible blood sugar imbalances; nutrient deficiencies; or maybe a result of high consumption of refined and processed foods.

Here are some things to consider

  • Make sure you are consuming enough calories to support your lifestyle.  There are many online tools that can give you a rough estimate of how much food you need and how much you are consuming.  Alternatively seek out a professional Nutritionist or Dietician specializing in sports nutrition.
  • Support your body with nutrient-dense foods to regulate blood sugar and curb those sugar cravings.  A diet rich in whole grains, such as quinoa or brown rice and fresh vegetables are ideal as they are rich in key vitamins and minerals.
  • Incorporate protein sources with breakfast and snacks as this may help balance out the need for sweet.  Raw nuts and seeds are great to have on hand for morning and afternoon snacks.  Quinoa is an excellent high protein grain that’s great for a hot breakfast.
  • Still needing something sweet?  Stevia is a naturally sweet herbal plant that is much sweeter than sugar, but has no calories and can help regulate blood sugar levels.  It is available in powder and liquid extract.

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