Sugar Cravings Deconstructed by Christina Zakhem
We often regard cravings for sugar as something bad, probably a lack of will power and control over our food choices but even though there’s a psychological element to sugar cravings, there’s often more to it. The truth is, our body is extremely intelligent and always finds ways to regain balance or in other words maintain homeostasis and sugar cravings are just another way for the body to tell us that there’s something throwing it off balance, that something is up or missing.
Foods like refined and processed sugars are devoid of any nutritional value, can throw our body off balance and in excess cause inflammation in the body which we now know is the root cause of many acute or chronic illnesses.
Looking deeper into the root causes of sugar cravings requires constant reflection inwards, listening to one’s body messages, some investigation and sometimes help from a health professional. So what are some root causes for those cravings?
Sugar cravings are sometimes a sign of dehydration. I always recommend a glass of water whenever sugar cravings kick in.
High stress levels lead to high cortisol in the body which puts our system in ‘fight or flight’ state. While in this state the body thinks it’s under attack and will look for the easiest source of energy which you can guess is sugar! This causes constant cravings and later possible insulin dysregulation on the long term due to the impact this has on our blood sugar. Stress-reduction practices like meditation and yoga can be helpful.
Lack of Sleep
Poor sleep can impact our hunger cueing hormones by increasing our appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin and decreasing our appetite suppressing hormone leptin. This can lead to uncontrollable cravings throughout the day often for sugar. Getting good quality sleep is key! Make sure to check out my previous post on the Mint Basil Market blog on 10 Ways To Sleep Yourself Well Tonight.
Blood Sugar Imbalance
Highs in blood sugar are often followed by lows and a crash which creates cravings as the body attempts to bring blood sugar up again. Aiming to balance our blood sugar especially through the first meal by adding in healthy fats and proteins is key for better blood sugar balance throughout the day and less cravings.
Yeast overgrowth or other dysbiosis can cause a constant need for something sugary. In parallel, it’s important to feed the good bacteria in the gut to help offset the harm caused by the bad ones, this can be done through eating fermented foods (probiotics) and prebiotic foods like garlic, onions and asparagus.
Cravings for sugar can also be a sign that our body needs more Magnesium, Calcium and Chromium. If you tend to crave chocolate constantly for example, look closely at your Magnesium levels for a start and include more Magnesium rich foods like almonds and avocados or consult your doctor for possible supplementation.