The last few months of the year usher in my favorite season. Time for the soft descend of autumn leaves coloring our paths with crimson and gold. Anticipation for the warm glow of a fireplace as the chill sets in. And Nature readies Herself for the long sleep of winter, while we earthlings fill our calendars with holiday parties, family gatherings, and any excuse to drink, eat, then drink and eat some more.
We all say that we shouldn't indulge so recklessly, but ultimately succumb to party-spirit peer pressure and gorge on one last slice of pumpkin meringue chocolate gooey fudge caramel frosted cupcake too many. And how about all that left over candy from Halloween?
Ah, the guilt and remorse the next morning when your tummy is bloated and your favorite pair of jeans are digging into your bulge! Help! How can we win the battle against the sugar-binging demon, and stay away from those waistline-expanding, glucose-filled, nutrient-deprived sweet temptations this year?
Drum roll. Applause. And three cheers for sauerkraut! Yes, it's our super fermented food to the rescue once again. And not only sauerkraut, but other lacto-fermented favorites, such as Real Pickles, can help to block out sugar's incessant siren call, and steer you safely away from the diabetes-causing Sugar Demon.
Before I explain how and why cultured veggies will slay the Sugar Demon, I want to give you three quick tips for when you need to stop the cravings right away:
3 Tips to Curb Cravings
- Drink a shot of pickle or sauerkraut brine, or eat a small serving of the fermented
- Eat a tablespoon of tahini (sesame paste), or other unsweetened nut butter such as almond or walnut. The good fats from nuts will provide a sense of satiety.
- Drink a glass of room temperature water. Hydration helps to curb appetite and also gives the brain the electrical energy for all brain functions, so that you can think better about why you shouldn't eat that candy bar!
How Lacto-fermented Foods Stop Sugar Binges
- Good vs. Bad: We already know that there are legions of microbes in our gut. The bad ones, such as candida albicans, thrive on sugar; so, the more sugar you eat, the more they grow. However, when you incorporate lacto-fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, into your diet, you encourage good bacteria to out-number the bad ones, and this will turn off craving for sweets.
- Increase Diversity: When we eat a varied selection of fermented foods, we invite a broad spectrum of beneficial bacteria into our gut. Research has shown that obese individuals have less
microbial diversity than those with a healthy weight.
(This maybe a clue as to why over-weight people have a harder time with sugar and food cravings.)
- Nourishing Nutrients: Lacto-fermented foods provide the nutrients needed by our body to produce B-vitamins, vitamin C, enzymes, and lactic acid, which helps with digestion and to fight off harmful pathogens. When your body has a good complement of needed nutrients, you will experience a lot less cravings for sugary junk.
- SCFAs: Short-Chain Fatty Acids are critical metabolites that affect many cellular activities in our bodies, including glucose production and brain function. SCFAs production is greatly enhanced by eating lacto-fermented foods. Studies have shown that SCFAs affect body composition, blood sugar regulation, and may even enhance peptide YY.
(Peptide YY is a hormone which is released after eating and sends signals to receptors in the brain. In turn, the receptors cause a decrease in appetite and make you feel full after a meal.)
So, as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and all those holiday parties are coming your way, prepare
to repel the Sugar Demon and take control with lacto-fermented superfoods. You can do it!
Byrne, C S et al. “The Role of Short Chain Fatty Acids in Appetite Regulation and Energy Homeostasis.” International Journal of Obesity (2005) 39.9 (2015): 1331–1338. PMC. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.
Den Besten, Gijs et al. “The Role of Short-Chain Fatty Acids in the Interplay between Diet, Gut Microbiota, and Host Energy Metabolism.” Journal of Lipid Research 54.9 (2013): 2325–2340. PMC. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.
Kessler, Chris. Do Gut Microbes Control Your Food Cravings? July 5, 2016