How Do You Know If Your Addicted To Chocolate
What are the signs of a chocolate addiction?
What Is The Best Time To Eat Sweets
The common view is that it is preferable to do it after lunch. The nutritionist and health coach Kristy Rao recommends indulging in the afternoon since youll have more opportunities to burn off the calories over the remainder of the day. Dessert should be had around one hour after lunch, according to her.
Pair With Lean Protein Or Healthy Fat
The anatomy of your snack will change depending on the purpose of your snack. Start with a base of vegetables or fruit, always.
Then ask yourself a few simple questions:
- How hungry am I?
- When is my next meal?
- What do I need to accomplish between now and my next meal?
If your next meal is an hour away and you are just looking for a quick refresh, the fruit or vegetable alone is probably enough. However, if you are looking for a long-haul option or a snack to fuel exercise, pair your fruit and vegetable with a healthy protein or fat. For example:
- Boiled egg + fruit
- Hummus or guacamole + vegetable sticks
- Cup of roasted vegetables + tahini
You May Like: Does Cvs Check Blood Sugar
Youre Not Listening To Your Body
Jonesing for a sweet or salty treat? Before you indulge, check your fatigue level. Research shows that when youre tired, youre more likely to turn to whatever you crave to get more energy or to wake up, Taylor says.
Perhaps you find yourself bingeing on salty snacks. The next time it happens, pay attention to your stress level. Stress may impair your adrenal glands ability to regulate sodium, which may lead to salt cravings, she says.
Take thirst into account, too. Some research suggests that mistaking dehydration for hunger may trigger cravings as well, she adds.
Finally, if you have diabetes, you probably know you get hungrier than other people. But excessive hunger can mean your blood sugar is too high or too low.
If you find yourself craving sweets, check your blood sugar first, Taylor suggests. If its over 200, try going for a walk or other light to moderate cardiovascular exercise, drinking a big glass lots of water or, if your doctor prescribes it, take insulin. If your blood sugar is less than 80, eat 15 grams of carbohydrates to help bring it back up to a safe range.
Understanding the reasons why you crave these sweet and salty foods can help you reduce those cravings and work toward a more balanced diet.
Why Do I Crave Sugar The Science You Need To Know
If youve ever opened the fridge at 10 p.m. looking for that sweet treat, youve probably asked yourself, maybe even out loud, ” Why do I crave sugar? And because its a common side effect of digestive and hormonal dysfunction , its a question I regularly get asked by clients. I remember it all too well when I was struggling with gut health issues and an incessant need to eat another brownie. As always, Ive left the old wives tales and myths about sugar behind to focus on the latest science so you know exactly whats going on in your body and why sugar cravings are driving you crazy.
Recommended Reading: What Makes Your Blood Sugar Go Up
You Dont Realize How Addictive Sugar And Salt Can Be
Why do we crave sugar and salt, in particular?
For one thing, they taste good. Many food companies conduct research to determine which food components will tempt consumers taste buds the most.
Our brains are wired to enjoy things which make us happy, says Taylor. Sugar, in particular, releases brain chemicals, like serotonin, that make us feel good. This leaves us wanting to experience that good feeling over and over again, day after day.
Many people say theyre sugar addicts, consuming real sugar and artificial sweeteners in various forms, says Taylor. And some sweet and salty foods and drinks are incredibly addictive. Thats why many processed foods are loaded with them. They trigger the release of dopamine, a brain chemical that motivates us to engage in rewarding behaviors.
Over time, our tolerance for sweet and salty foods builds up, and we need more to reward ourselves. Were basically feeding our taste buds, explains Taylor. This creates a vicious cycle, because your taste buds typically crave what you feed them.
It doesnt help that sugary and salty foods especially processed foods are highly accessible. Its extremely challenging for kids, in particular, to ignore the natural temptation of these addicting foods and to fight cravings in the school environment and at home, notes Taylor.
Would I Eat A Piece Of Fruit
This exercise is called the fruit test. If a person cannot tell whether they are really hungry or just craving a sugary sweet, asking themselves whether they would eat a piece of whole fruit can help.
If the answer is yes, the body is likely hungry, and if the answer is no, a person may be having a craving.
You May Like: What Can Cause Your Sugar To Go Up
Alcohol And Low Blood Sugar
Long-term, alcohol abuse disrupts your bodys ability to regulate your blood sugar. This is partially because alcohol can damage the pancreas, which controls blood sugar levels, and partially due to poor diet and malnutrition.
Many heavy drinkers are hypoglycemic, or have low blood sugar, which can cause them to crave sweets. This can become especially apparent when alcohol is removed from the equation.
In fact, some medical professionals believe solving hypoglycemia after quitting drinking is crucial to overcoming alcohol cravings. This is especially relevant, considering hypoglycemia also causes low mood, making someone more likely to seek relief through sugar or alcohol.
How To Stop Sugar Cravings: 5 Tips For The Long Term
One of the best ways to manage sugar cravings is to stop them before they start. To help you do that:
- Skip artificial sweeteners. They donât necessarily lessen cravings for sugar. And they âhavenât demonstrated a positive effect on our obesity epidemic,” says Grotto, author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.
- Reward yourself for successfully managing sugar cravings. Your reward could be large or small. Remember why youâre working on it and then reward yourself for each successful step.
- Slow down. For 1 week, focus on your sugar cravings and think about what youâre eating, suggests Chambers. Diet mayhem often results from lack of planning. So slow down, plan, “and eat what you intend to eat, instead of eating when youâre desperate,” Chambers says.
- Get support. Many people turn to sweet foods when they’re stressed, depressed, or angry. But food doesn’t solve emotional issues. Consider whether emotions are involved in your sugar cravings and whether you need help to find other solutions to those emotional problems.
- Mix it up. You may need more than one strategy to thwart sugar cravings. One week you may find success with one tactic, and another week calls for an alternative approach. Whatâs important is to âhave a âbag of tricksâ to try,â Gerbstadt says. To tame sugar cravings, you really need to “figure out what works for you,” Neville says.
Also Check: How Do You Check For Low Blood Sugar
What Can Your Sugar Cravings Say About Your Health
As discussed above, a sugar craving could mean that your body is lacking a vitamin or nutrient, or that your blood sugar levels are off.
Registered dietitian Farah Fahad recommends adding more protein to your meals, so your blood sugar levels dont drop. The body is a well-built machine, and if you are not giving it the right foods, it will say, Give me sugar! she explains. It wants energy for all the thousands of biological processes that are happening.
Common Causes Of Food Cravings
- Psychological or emotional stress
- Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Hormone imbalances
- Physical and mental health conditions
Research has shown that cravings can also be driven by memories rather than bodily cues. Consistently having a certain food at a certain time creates a mental linkyou might say it almost feeds the craving.
For example, if you grab a snack from the vending machine at work at the same time each afternoon, your desire for the snack may be less about satisfying hunger and more out of habit.
Sweets and decadent meals are often associated with vivid memories of food at social gatherings, such as holidays, parties, and family get-togethers. If you find yourself thinking about your Grandmas molasses cookies or your moms famous apple pie, you may be missing your family members, not the food.
It might sound like cravings are all in your head, but that doesnt mean you’re imagining them. In fact, they’re most often based in biology.
In 2004, researchers used fMRI machines to look at people’s brains as they experienced food cravings. They noticed similarities in the neuroanatomy of food-craving brains and those of people who were addicted to drugs and alcohol .
In a 2011 study, researchers found that when one area of the brain was activated, it temporarily decreased food cravings, particularly for sweet foods and carbohydrates.
Recommended Reading: How Can I Lower My Sugar Fast
How Does Protein Affect Blood Sugar
Protein is one of three macronutrients that provide our bodies with calories to supply us with energy. The other two are carbohydrates and fats, and each of these three affects your blood sugar differently.
Carbs cause your blood sugar levels to rise right after you eat, causing the pancreas to release insulin for transporting the sugar into blood cells. Fats, on the other hand, dont have an immediate impact on blood sugarbut eating a high-fat meal can slow down your digestion and impair insulins ability to transport sugars into your cells.
Protein helps to control blood sugar levels by helping to slow down digestion, increasing satiety , and reducing post-meal blood sugar spikes by reducing the rate at which your cells absorb sugar.
Eat Dates With Nut Butter
Dried fruit has a higher amount of sugar than fresh fruit. This means that dried picks are more likely to spike blood sugar and lead to a sugar craving. However, pairing dates with high-protein nut butter thats full of healthy fats can give us the stable blood sugar boost our body needs. A quick snack of dates and nut butter can satisfy your sugar cravings while also giving you an extra bit of fiber, iron, potassium, and loads of other vitamins and minerals.
You May Like: What Is Good To Lower Blood Sugar
Sugar & Insulin Resistance
Your brain and body need glucose to survive. When your body perceives that blood sugar is getting too low, it sends you a signal that it needs fuel. You get hungry, or maybe you crave sugar because your body knows its a calorie dense and efficient way to give you a fast boost. When you eat sugar, white flour , alcohol, sodas, candy, cookies, pastries, etc, your body uses a hormone called insulin to transport the glucose to your cells for usage. When you eat too much sugar, your pancreas releases a whole lotta insulin to usher all that glucose into your cells, and blood glucose levels drop again , and your blood sugar levels drop too low, so you crave sugar again to bring the levels back up.
The problem with this cycle is that eventually, your cells stop responding properly to insulin. They already have enough glucose, so they lock the door and dont allow insulin to escort glucose into the cell. Your pancreas is overworked as it continues to churn out insulin in response to all that sugar youre eating, but now you have become insulin resistant because your cells dont want all that excess sugar. This causes your blood sugar levels to rise, setting you up for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
What Is Your Body Lacking When You Crave Chocolate
When it comes to chocolate, it is common knowledge that the craving signifies a deficiency in magnesium. Since cacao is considered the food with the highest amount of magnesium per gram, it comes as no surprise that chocolate is the first thing we reach for when we encounter such a deficiency.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Normal Random Blood Sugar Level
Sugar And Artificial Sweeteners
What? Eating sugar causes sugar cravings? Yep, thats basically how an addiction works. This is the most obvious one so well keep it short and sweet. As mentioned earlier, the brain releases opioids and dopamine after eating sugar – happy chemicals that keep you coming back for more. Its a vicious cycle and as with any drug, its hard to break. And new research suggests artificial sweeteners might be even worse. Just another reason to put down the Splenda.
Its daunting and a little tough-love but the best solution to cut sugar cravings is to go cold turkey and be ready to deal with withdrawal symptoms. But, the good news is that within two weeks of cutting out all added sugars and artificial sweeteners, the hold has already started to break and the appeal of sweet food has generally reduced significantly. There are lots of awesome online resources and books to help with quitting sugar, like the I Quit Sugar book by Sarah Wilson.
Is It Worth It In The Long Term
Visualizing the long-term consequences of snacking or otherwise indulging can help some people to curb cravings.
These consequences may include:
- health risks
- feeling reduced levels of energy and happiness throughout the day
This exercise can also help a person to see the big picture and remember why they are dieting or trying to restrict their intake of certain foods.
Stress can play a role in hunger cravings, and long-term stressors can cause some people to crave foods that are sugary or more calorie-dense.
Finding ways to reduce stress may help to eliminate cravings.
Simple means of reducing stress, such as taking regular breaks from work, or even taking a few deep breaths, can help the body to refocus and calm the mind.
It may also help to try mindful stress-relieving practices, such as:
- breathing exercises
Also Check: How To Measure Your Blood Sugar
More Tips To Stop Mindless Snacking Cravings
- Eat regular meals Skipping meals promotes munchies, so eat balanced meals three times a day. Supplement them with healthy snacks to ward off extra cravings.
- Fill up on fiber-rich foods, like whole-grain foods and vegetables.
- Consume protein-rich foods such as eggs, nuts, and fish to keep you full longer
- Satisfy your munchies with fruit, nuts, or a slice of whole-grain bread with jam instead of sweets. A boiled egg or a slice of ham with cucumber can also help you get over a small hunger attack.
- Drink plenty of water or herbal tea throughout the day. You should at least 1.5 liters .
- Regular exercise will help speed up your metabolism, increase your endorphins , and help get your mind off of potential stressors.
- Distract yourself from eating by other activities, like chewing gum or talking on the phone
- Dont be too strict or hard on yourself- bans are usually counterproductive and youll get even more snacking urges. It is better to enjoy something consciously when you choose to indulge.
- Remove sweets and unhealthy snacks from your house. Theyre just too tempting!
- Brushing your teeth after eating helps you eat less. The fresh mint taste of toothpaste can reduce your desire for more food.
Now that youve read some tips and tricks for healthy snacking, here is our favorite easy snack recipe!
How To Stop Sugar Cravings After Main Meals
I love reading your blog as Im super keen to stop emotional and binge eating!
Can you help? I always crave something sweet after lunch and dinner. After I finish my main meals, I always get really strong sugar cravings and feel like I need to eat chocolate or lollies.
Why do I get these sugar cravings after meals and how do I break this habit?!
Youre not alone! So many people I speak to get sweet or sugar cravings after mains meals like lunch and dinner. Heres why
Don’t Miss: Is Zero Sugar Coke Keto
Remember: Lifes Too Short To Not Eat Sweets
Hear me out. Eating high-sugar foods occasionally is totally fine. While there are many benefits to a sugar-free diet and lifestyle, being too fixated on clean eating can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food down the road.
Dont get me wrong: limiting added sugar in our diet is important to our long-term health and wellness. But a holistically healthy lifestyle means looking at things big picture, and sugary foods eaten in moderation can be a part of a healthy diet. Especially when weve implemented sustainable habits like prioritizing sleep, movement, and our mental health.
My personal strategy for how to curb sugar cravings is to eat a little sugar every once in a while like its no big dealbecause the way you think about food affects the nutrition you take in. Mind blown. So now that some of the shame and fear around eating sugar is hopefully dispelled, lets talk about strategies for how to curb your sugar cravings and incorporate these sweet snacks into your healthy-living diet.
Craving Sweet Food After Meals Is A Habit Or Learned Association
If you always have something sweet to eat after a meal, then your body will start to expect something sweet.
Your body will nag you until it gets a sweet fix because youve trained your body to think that a meal isnt finished until you eat something sweet.
Sugar cravings can be especially strong after dinner and lunch. Thats because we typically eat dessert after lunch or dinner but not breakfast. Your body isnt in the habit of having a sweet treat after breakfast.