How has your sweet tooth been since your bariatric surgery? For some, it completely goes away! For others, they might crave sugar now more than they ever did before surgery. While we can’t necessarily determine why some people feel more cravings for sugar than others, there are a few things that can help reduce the likelihood that your sweet tooth will come knocking.
Eat Your Protein and Fiber
Another reason to focus on protein and fiber. Swings in your blood sugars can make you crave sweets, because when the swing comes down your body is thinking – I need more! To help prevent these swings, fill your meals with foods high in protein and fiber. One way to do that? Include a protein and a plant (fruit or veg) at each meal and snack.
Reduce Consumption of Ultra-Processed Foods
Ultra-processed foods are a trigger for sugar cravings for many reasons. These foods are often void of fiber and are lower in protein then less processed foods. Because of this, they are absorbed super quickly into your bloodstream inducing blood sugar swings. Ultra-processed foods are also manufactured to be addictive with extra salt, fat, and sugar than their non-processed counterparts. Read more about these foods here.
This is especially true right after surgery when your portions are really small and you may not feel hunger. What can happen here is that people go, go, go without realizing they need to eat. Then, all of a sudden, their energy crashes, they feel crabby, and maybe a bit light-headed. That’s your blood sugar crashing. That’s why having a meal every 3-4 hours in those first months after surgery, or if your portions continue to be quite small long-term, is important. Use the BariBuddy app to set reminders if you have a hard time remembering to eat.
Take Your Bariatric Vitamins
Low levels or certain vitamins and minerals can make your body crave sweets because it just wants you to eat something in the hopes that it will get the nutrients it’s missing. Namely, chocolate cravings are thought to be related to magnesium deficiency since chocolate contains a lot of magnesium. But don’t worry, Baricol has you covered!
Get Enough Sleep
Have you noticed that you are hungrier and crave more sugar when you haven’t slept well? When we don’t sleep enough, our levels of the stress hormone cortisol go up, making us crave sugar. There are many reasons why we don’t get enough sleep. If electronics play a role for you as they do for so many of us, put down your phone, shut your computer, and turn off the TV at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours before you go to bed. Blue light glasses can also help reduce the effect of electronics on our sleep.
Do Something Active
Does stress make you want sugar? This is an incredibly natural response to stress because sugar makes our brains feel good – but that feeling doesn’t last very long. On the other hand, doing something active and getting your heart rate up helps reduce those feelings of stress and keeps them down. Next time you are feeling stressed and want to reach for something sweet, try taking a brisk walk instead. Plus, getting outside can also reduce stress!
Cravings can be a sign that you need to drink something. The body knows that if you eat, you will likely take get some hydration along with it. Aim for at least 1.5-2L of fluids per day. Of course, this can be easier said than done after WLS. To help, set reminders on our BariBuddy app, and check out this post for tips to get in more water.
Have Something Sweet!
Sometimes, we all just want something sweet. And that’s ok! For some people, a piece of fruit does the trick. For others, a piece of high-quality chocolate. Or, if there is something you really want, have some and really take the time to enjoy it! There are also great recipes for healthier sweet treats in BariBuddy!
What are some other things you’ve found helpful when the sweet tooth calls?