Do you keep finding yourself reaching to that cookie, piece of chocolate and can you not resist the candy jar? Why do you keep craving the sweet stuff and can’t you find yourself to resist your sweettooth? In some case there is are perfect explaination for these sugar cravings.
You just have to stop eating sugar
I think that everybody knows that sugar is bad for you and that most of us wants to try to cut out or limit their sugar intake. Unfortunately, sometimes it isn’t as easy as having the willpower to quit eating sugar. Sometimes, there is a bigger reason as to why you have sugar cravings and eating the sugary things even though you know it’s not good for you.
One of the main reasons for sugars cravings is a hormonal imbalance. You could possibly have an imbalance in your leptin and serotonin hormones. This means that you don’t have the cue in your body to know when you’re full and low serotonin causes troubles with your digestive system and break down of foods. Another imbalance could be because of insulin resistance. With your blood sugar going up and down, you will naturally have sugar cravings when you’re having a low, which when you do eat sugar, will cause your blood sugar to spike. Lastly your adrenaline and cortisol can cause sugar cravings. These hormones will be deficient when you’re experiencing stress over a long period of time.
Another reason is eating out of emotion, to eat out of comfort. You can eat out of stress, out of boredom, out of anxiety. If you’ve done this over a long period of time this has become a bad habit which has reprogrammed your brain. The way how this works has to do with the hippocampus in your brain who is responsible for short and long term memories. It also plays a significant role in conditioned reward-seeking behaviour. For example, when you had a good workout, or a bad day at work, you treat yourself with something nice, because you deserve it. When you do this often enough, it becomes a habit and you do it as a conditioned response. Snacking without you even noticing it.
Lack of nutrients
If you don’t have a balanced diet with a diversity of greens and fruits, you could be lacking certain nutrients which causes you to crave. For example, you could crave a lot of carbohydrates when you usually eat a low carb diet and your body needs more. You could also eat heaps of chocolate when you’re deficient in magnesium. Instead, you can eat almonds. Another thing that can cause you to eat more sugary things is a diet with not enough protein and fats. Both of these slow down the release of sugar in your blood. So when you don’t eat enough protein and fats, your blood sugar will rise and the only thing you want is to get a quick energy rise from sugar. Other deficiencies that you could have are iron, calcium, zinc and chromium.
Lack of sleep
Another quick easy fix when you notice you have sugar cravings is to simply go to bed. Especially when you’re having cravings at night time, it is sometimes just better to go to sleep. Research shows that even one night of poor sleep can decrease the brain function of decision making and complex judgements. Which means that the next day you can easily find yourself to grab food in the kitchen cupboard and fridge and have a binge. Poor sleepers generally eat about 600 calories more a day, which is huge!
Try to aim for about 8 hours of sleep for a week and see how that improves your well being. Getting enough sleep also manages the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which promotes and suppresses your food intake. When you don’t sleep enough over a long period of time it can be the cause of your food cravings.
Checklist to find your root cause of craving sugar
- Journal what and when you eat in a day and when most of your cravings happen
- Try to analyze why you might be binge eating and what emotions you might be surpressing
- Check your sleep pattern and see if this can use some improvement.
- Go to see your GP and get your blood work done to see if you have any deficiencies in vitamines, minerals or hormones.
- Try to set up a plan to balance your hormones and other deficiencies with your GP
- Try to put more self care rituals in your life as new habit to help you relax and distract from eating instead
- Most of all be kind to yourself and know that you’re only human. You are not meant to do everything perfect or be good at everything. Know that you will make mistakes and life is going with ups and downs. Just know and trust that you eventually will get there!