Found: An MD's Hack (& Recipe) To Eliminate Sugar Cravings
According to integrative medicine doctor Amy Shah, M.D., our cravings are fueled by dopamine. We may know that the rich chocolate cake or gooey, fresh-baked cookies won't necessarily fuel our bodies with the nutrients it needs, yet our brains yearn for that big dopamine explosion with every bite. That being said, in order to "hack" your sugar cravings, you'll want to supply that surge of dopamine in a slightly different way.
Shah's trick? Hot, cozy beverages. "A warm drink has the effect of satisfying the cravings," she shares on the mindbodygreen podcast. Below, find her go-to recipe.
How an M.D. hacks her sugar cravings.
"My real go-to's for treats are hot drinks, like a chai latte," Shah says. The sweet, rich flavor mimics some of her favorite sweets, and the caffeine itself also provides a bit of a dopamine hit1. If you have some dark chocolate on hand, she also recommends chucking that into the mix as well: "Dark chocolate is a winner all the way through for me," she explains, since cocoa also offers a dopamine boost.
We recommend using mbg's chocolate beauty & gut collagen+, which contains zero added flavors or sugar thanks to the organic cocoa and organic monk fruit extract. It's also filled with additional nutrients, botanicals, and bioactives that your skin will love, like hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, and turmeric.* Not to mention, it froths up like a dream—perfect for a warm chai.
To create the best foam, you'll want to use unsweetened coconut milk, which also provides some fat. "We feel more satisfied when we have a combination of dopamine-supporting foods plus a little bit of fat to give us that sensation of satisfaction," Shah says.
Ready to blend? Behold: a craving-kicking chocolate chai.
- 1 bag chai tea
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 scoop mbg chocolate beauty & gut collagen+
- Dash of cinnamon (optional)
- Place the chai tea bag in ½ cup of boiling water and let it steep for 5 minutes. Discard the bag after steeping.
- In a separate bowl, add 1 scoop of chocolate collagen powder to 1 cup of heated coconut milk. Use either a manual or electric tool to whisk until smooth and frothy.
- Pour the collagen-milk foam onto the chai tea, then stir. Top with a dash of cinnamon.
When it comes to cravings, you should listen to your body, first and foremost. So if you want to indulge, please go right ahead—sweets are good for the soul! But if you're trying to balance your sugar intake, try Shah's recipe to create a similar dopamine response in your brain. The tasty flavor and caffeine may give you just the "sugar" kick you need.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.