We Might Actually Just Need It
Your body might not actually be trying to trick you. Crow says it could actually be telling you how to survive and thrive, and therefore you may want to stop ignoring those cravings. She quotes Dr. Ray Peat, who said, Any craving is a good starting point because we have several biological mechanisms for correcting specific nutritional deficiencies. When something is interfering with your ability to use sugar, you crave it because if you dont eat it, you will waste protein to make it.
Here’s Why You Crave Junk Food When You’re Sick
You ever wake up and instantly feel like you want to crawl into a hole and die? It feels like your skin is crawling your muscles are atrophying, and even the tiny hairs on your arm hurt?
Well, congratulations, you probably have the flu.
I succumbed to this horrific and complete meltdown of all bodily function on Wednesday morning with no real hope of even finding the energy to turn on an episode of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
And even though I felt like I kind of needed to ralph all over the place, oddly, I also craved the weirdest combination of food. All of a sudden, I really wanted some ice cream, chips and tomato soup.
It got me thinking, is it just me, or are weird food cravings a part of being sick? Here’s what I found out in my fever-induced haze.
Tips To Smash Sugar Cravings
Note that you dont have to and may not need to completely avoid sweet foods. Sweet is one of the 5 basic tastes, and some people find that completely avoiding sweet foods intensifies the cravings.Others, however, find sweet foods triggering.
Treat yourself to sugar free treats made with monk fruit or stevia, like this cashew cake batter pudding. Or even a piece of fruit with nut butter. Some people avoid binge behavior by just satisfying cravings for sweets with some dark chocolate or something sweet. This is not true for everyone, however: Some people may experience serious binge reactions if they eat sweet foods.
Here are some tips to keep blood sugar stable and cravings in check:
If you overdid it: The day after a sugar binge, start off with 8 ounces hot water and the juice of 1/2 a lemon to detoxify, and drink green vegetable juices if you have access to alkalize the body sugar is very acidic. Then stick to protein & veggies & plenty of good fats, like avocado, throughout the day to reset yourself.
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What Is Your Sugar Craving Telling You About Your Health
Your sugar craving is telling you, you have an insulin problem and are over eating sugar and refined carbohydrates. Nearly 2/3 of Americans are overweight because they grossly overeating sugar and refined carbs. Even skinny people can become addicted.
Continuing on the path of over consuming these foods will set you up for metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, and the development of heart disease and type II diabetes. Your sugar craving is also telling you, youre lacking key nutrients in your diet. Meaning youre not eating enough non-starchy vegetables and fruit and eating too much junk.
Have you ever noticed how you can eat an apple or carrot and dont repeatedly crave it over and over again the way you do sugar? How is that possible? Dont apples and carrots have naturally occurring sugar? They do! The big is these foods have minerals and vitamins your body needs. They also have fiber to balance the sugar which means you dont get a blood sugar surge.
That fiber slows the absorption of sugar causing less of a spike. In fact, if youre going to eat sugar eating it with something like a salad is best. Sounds yummy, huh? Your body is smart. It knows what it needs. A sugar craving is your bodys way of telling you Im not getting what I need, stop feeding me junk and FEED ME real food!
Calorie In Doesnt Equal Calorie Out
Theres a famous calorie equation I learned back when I worked as a Personal Trainer.
Calorie in = calorie out
This equation means you eat in some calories. Then you either burn those calories or the calories turn out into fat.
Unfortunately, this equation often makes people afraid of eating because they are afraid of gaining weight!
Due to fear of weight gain, people try to avoid ALL carbs and sugar sources.
But avoiding carbs just leads to more carb cravings.
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Keep Your Body Hydrated
Dehydration can lead to sugar cravings. To prevent this you should drink the recommended daily allowance of water . When dehydrated the liver is unable to release glycogen which is the energy source for the body. This causes the body to crave sugar, as the liver needs glucose and water for glycogen production. Dehydration also decreases serotonin levels in the body leading to sugar craving. Diabetics should remain hydrated as high blood sugar levels can lead to dehydration. Being sufficiently hydrated helps diabetics to maintain a stable blood sugar level apart from stopping their sugar cravings.
How To Get More Sleep
- No caffeine after 12pm
- Have a bedtime routine set an alarm, read before going to sleep, have nap time during the day if possible.
- Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every morning
- Turn off the screen! Research shows screens interfere with your melatonin production which is your brains natural sleep hormone.
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The Importance Of A Sugar Detox
I know this is A LOT of information and it can be really hard to kick a sugar and carb habit all on your own. You may feel completely overwhelmed about where to begin and how to figure out all the sugar cravings causes. Or, you may have tried before to eat less sugar and fewer carbs and failed. The good news is that you CAN make significant improvements to your sugar habit through a clear-cut, whole foods sugar detox. You just need to know exactly HOW to do it and have the SUPPORT you need to change your habits in a positive way.
Finding the sugar craving causes in your diet and replacing them can help you increase your energy, improve your mood, sleep better, lose body fat and break the sugar and carb stronghold.
A Hijacked Reward System
Today we have the same primal reward systems in place that guide our decisions around food as when we were hunter/gatherers.
The refined sugar that we eat these days is much sweeter and concentrated than what can be found in nature. As a result of this concentrated and hyper sweet energy source, our brain becomes flooded with dopamine causing an overstimulation of the reward system.
The dopamine signaling that is meant to guide our dietary decisions has been been taken over by these sweet foods.
It overwhelms our reward system. The same opioid pathways in the brain that sugar stimulates are also affected by heroin and morphine. This is why some people seem powerless against sugar-laden foods, and cant control themselves especially when it comes to Oreos.
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How To Stop Sugar Cravings: 8 Tips To Use Right Now
If you’re craving sugar, here are some ways to tame those cravings.
But won’t eating more often mean overeating? Not if you follow Neville’s advice to break up your meals. For instance, have part of your breakfast — a slice of toast with peanut butter, perhaps — and save some yogurt for a mid-morning snack. “Break up lunch the same way to help avoid a mid-afternoon slump,” Neville says.
Your Plan To Kick Sugar
Each person is a bio-individual and has unique needs. Because I am not sitting down for a consultation with each and everyone of you, it is difficult to say what will be the best plan of action for you personally.
Instead I am going to provide a basic plan and encourage you to experiment. Use what you find helpful and discard what isnt.
Focus on one habit every two to three weeks depending on how difficult you feel the habit will be for you.
Its vital that you always play a game you know you can win. Instead of trying to be perfect and do the habit seven days a week, start with three days and make sure you have that mastered first and foremost. Eventually you will develop momentum and youll notice the sugar cravings have less of a hold on you.
There will be setbacks and that is expected but focus on the progress, not perfection. Treat each moment like another chance of success and make the better choice. Seize that next moment to get back on track and think about the progress youre making!Below you will find a breakdown of the areas that should be considered when trying to kick sugar followed by a 6-week plan to help you break the sugar addiction cycle.
Eat a Lower Carbohydrate Diet:
Make Sleep a Priority:
Daily Stress Management:
Keep Snacks On-Hand
Week 1: Snacks
Weeks 2 and 3: Lower Carbs + Protein and Fat
Weeks 4 and 5: Exercise and Stress Management
Week 6: Sleep
It’s All In Your Head
According to the very little amount of research and expert opinions online about why I wanted a cheese pizza and not a healthy salad while ill, my bizarre cravings had nothing to do with my body and everything to do with my mind.
Answering a Quora thread, Joe Selby, a certified precision nutrition coach, says,
You crave junk food when you feel under the weather for the same reason I want to watch the original Star Wars – because we feel crappy and want to feel better.
I don’t care. This is what I really want to be doing:
Health Hazards Of Sugar Craving
Increased consumption of added sugars can lead to adverse effects on health. High-fructose corn syrup containing free fructose is a commonly used sugar additive in beverages and processed foods. Fructose in natural sources such as fruit has health benefits. But free fructose present in the artificial sweeteners can lead to health hazards.
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The Causes Of Sugar Cravings
As a21 day sugar detox coach , I often meet with people who say they have a sugar problem, but they just cant give up sugar. I believe it. Truth is, when it comes to sugar, its not just about willpower. Sugar is truly addictive, and it takes a lot of work to break the cycle. A good place to start is by trying to understand these sugar craving causes. You just might be surprised.
Here is list of some surprising sugar craving causes. Once you understand whats causing your addiction, you can work to achieve the food freedom you may desperately be seeking.
Eating Throughout The Day
Waiting so long between meals is a significant contribution as to why you experience sugar cravings. When you get extremely hungry, sugary foods become a quick fix solution. Dieticians recommend you eat five small meals instead of eating three large meals. Having a meal every four hours keeps your blood sugar consistent and helps eliminate irrational eating behavior.
Cutting down consumption of sugary foods is an integral part of good oral health. A good dental routine that involves brushing at least twice a day and daily flossing can guarantee a healthy mouth.
You will still want to schedule regular dental cleaning and check-ups. Contact North View Dental for any questions or to schedule an appointment. They provide quality dental care services to meet your dental needs.
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Understanding Why Eating Addiction Feels Like Food Addiction
In terms of eating foods, you can feel powerful cravings and think youre a food addict!
In particular, there are a few factors that combine together to make powerful cravings that can make you think youre a food addict:
- there is nutrient deficiency
- there is high stress
- and you have a background history of dieting, emotional eating, and other not-so-healthy coping mechanisms like drugs or alcohol
This is when food addiction can seem real. The factors all combine into a powerful sense of craving for you personally.
Its this powerful craving which feels like an addiction, but is actually caused by the combined power of the factors listed above.
However, despite the seeming realness of food addiction, its important to remember that food itself is a non-addictive substance!
Its also important to remember that you have an innate ability to be at peace with food. This is a cornerstone piece of Eating Enlightenment philosophy.
For example, if you had time to:
- Practice ways of eating balanced meals
- Master strategies to handle stress and maintain a balanced perspective instead of falling into catastrophic thinking patterns about food
- Understood your history of dieting and why you developed emotional eating habits in the first place
Under these situations you would not feel addicted to food. Thats what we want for you at Eating Enlightenment.
If youre curious about getting over food addiction, be sure to check out my 3 month program to stop binge eating.
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Why Do We Crave Sweets When Were Stressed
A brain researcher explains our desire for chocolate and other carbs during tough times
Although our brain accounts for just 2 percent of our body weight, the organ consumes half of our daily carbohydrate requirementsand glucose is its most important fuel. Under acute stress the brain requires some 12 percent more energy, leading many to reach for sugary snacks.
Carbohydrates provide the body with the quickest source of energy. In fact, in cognitive tests subjects who were stressed performed poorly prior to eating. Their performance, however, went back to normal after consuming food.
When we are hungry, a whole network of brain regions activates. At the center are the ventromedial hypothalamus and the lateral hypothalamus. These two regions in the upper brain stem are involved in regulating metabolism, feeding behavior and digestive functions. There is, however, an upstream gatekeeper, the nucleus arcuatus in the hypothalamus. If it registers that the brain itself lacks glucose, this gatekeeper blocks information from the rest of the body. Thats why we resort to carbohydrates as soon as the brain indicates a need for energy, even if the rest of the body is well supplied.
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Retrain Your Taste Buds
You don’t need sugar as much as you think you do. In fact, you can train your taste buds to enjoy things that aren’t as sweet. Try cutting out one sweet food from your diet each week. For example, pass on dessert after dinner. Start putting less sugar in your coffee or cereal. Over time, you will lose your need for that sugar taste.
How Can I Work To Stop My Sugar Cravings
A sugar detox is a great way to push yourself. Giving your body a digestive system break from sugars and too many carbs can actually reduce your sugar cravings a lot in just seven days! Try to eat more probiotic-rich food and gut-healing food like Further Food Collagen Peptides. Additionally, you should prioritize your sleep and incorporate lifestyle strategies into your daily routine to manage stress, like yoga. For more help with stress management, consider adding anti-stress foods into your diet, like ashwagandha.
Disclaimer: The following material is intended for general informational purposes only, and is not to be taken as medical diagnosis, advice or treatment.
Special Offer for Further Food readers! Visit the MyHealthytTransitions website at www.myhealthytransitions.com to download a FREE Sugar Cleanse Cheatsheet!
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After working in integrative and functional medicine as a chiropractor and nutritionist for over 15 years, Dr. Chris Oswald joined Further Food as Chief Science Officer in charge of new product development. On top of his list of new products to creat…
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Its A Part Of Our Genetics
According to registered dietician and director of dietetics and nutritional Science at GenoPalate Matt Edwards, we may crave sugar because of our genes. The field of nutrigenomics has found several genes that correlate with specific taste preferences, he said. Someone with the impact genotype or arrangement of genes on the FGF21 gene may show a genetic predisposition towards sweet foods. Edwards explains that being able to understand your genetics in relationship to humans natural desire to prefer sweet tastes can provide insight into choices you make when it comes to food, as well as allowing yourself to defend your cravings. Just because a ton of sugar isnt good for you, that doesnt mean you shouldnt have sugar at all! To make sure youre getting the perfect balance, check out these surprising signs youre eating too much sugar.
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Too Much Hidden Stress
Too much stress is bad.
But most of the time people living in modern society deal with something called chronic stress.
Chronic stress is where you are moderately stressed out, but not usually overwhelmed.
For example, being available for email and text notifications at all hours of the day is unpredictable and slightly stressful.
All this stress adds up, and even worse, we often are accustomed to this level of stress and dont even notice it!
This is why chronic stress is also hidden stress. Its there and impacting you, but not to the point where you consciously notice this stress.
Thus, chronic stress remains hidden.