3 Reasons You Crave Sugar

by lydia on January 29, 2013

Sugar cravings are an outrageously common problem for many these days. The reasons for craving sugar can be many. The problem is, if you indulge those cravings you will only put yourself into a downward spiral of more and more cravings. The more sugar you eat, the more you will crave. Today, I want to discuss 3 reasons why you crave sugar. While there are many more I find these three to be the biggest.


Reason #1: Imbalanced Blood Sugar/Adrenal Fatigue

You have imbalanced blood sugar and you look to sugar as a quick source of fuel. Problem is, this is a vicious cycle. One that is not easy to break unless you force yourself to acknowledge it’s not a good idea to stay on this roller coaster ride. Once you know that sugar is not your friend you can take steps to eradicate those cravings. Sugar also places an unnecessary burden on the adrenal glands, that also play a part in blood sugar control. If your adrenals are low functioning and you have unmanaged blood sugar (which most people do these days), craving sugar will likely be a challenge for you. Instead of reaching for the sugar (think = a quick source of energy), reach for some protein or fat instead, or both. A hardboiled egg, a handful of nuts, carrots dipped in full fat ranch, a spoonful of coconut oil or peanut butter, sliced meat or cheese. Better yet, pair that snack with something fermented.  Get your blood sugar balanced and consider having your adrenals tested.

Reason #2: Imbalanced Brain Chemistry

You are seeking pleasure. Sugar fills a need for pleasure that many people in modern America are not getting. Why? A million reasons……Lack of sunshine and low vitamin D levels, lack of dietary protein or the ability to assimilate it to make the amino acids to make the neurotransmitters that help to keep our pleasure centers full and satisfied.

The regular use of candy, refined sugar and other sweets/carbs can have a strong impact on your brain chemistry. As they interfere with the receptors in the brain for neurotransmitters.  The brain identifies that the receptor for a certain neurotransmitter is already filled, so it reduces the amount of neurotransmitters it produces. As the levels of neurotransmitters drop you begin to crave alchohol or sugar to fill the newly emptied receptors in the brain. At some point you will no longer be able to fill the receptors with these ’empty’ foods and substances. At this point you will begin to experience mood swings and an even more intense craving for sugar. To correct these imbalances you may require amino acid therapy. (‘Signs & Symptoms Analysis from a Functional Perspective. Dicken Weatherby, N.D.)

Lack of adequate fat in the diet to satiate, nourish, help with cravings and balance hormones. Too much refined foods stripping away critical nutrients to support brain function, and the list goes on.  If you are finding you desire sugar when you are bored or apathetic, eat some fat and/or protein instead. Read ‘The Mood Cure‘ to learn about amino acids and their role in depression and our mental health.

Reason #3: Gut Health

You crave sugar due to possible gut dysbiosis, digestive dysfunction, a need for hydrochloric acid and pancreatic enzymes, hidden food allergies or possible yeast overgrowth. Why? It could very likely be due to sugar in the first place. Anyone on a highly refined diet consuming a lot of sugars/carbs can expect to find some gut health issues. A Paleo or GAPS dietary template can be very helpful in reducing the cravings. An elimination diet, probioitcs, supplemental hydrochloric acid, digestive/pancreatic enzymes or B vitamins could all be supportive as well. Getting the sugar out of the diet will be the first step on your road to recovery. Working with a practitioner or someone trained in nutrition may be a very good idea as well, to help you trouble shoot which aspect of gut health to focus on, and which testing you may need to get.

I am all too aware of how much of a problem sugar cravings create for my clients. I’ve written in the past about tips that can help with sugar cravings, as well as touched on a few today. Will power alone is not enough. Support through education, dietary shifts and supplement regimes can go a long way to nix those cravings. Possible blood work and testing can additionally help to root out the deeper reasons why you crave sugar. Come join me in my online course; ‘Revitalize Your Health‘. Learn how to detox the sugar in your life, stop cravings, eat healthfully without deprivation and shed some pounds while you’re at it!

Knowledge is power! When we know better, we do better! Are you confused about what steps to take to gain the health you truly desire? Do you need guidance and practical information so you can make concise decisions that get you results? Revitalize Your Health will empower you with the knowledge necessary to take actionable and measurable steps to make changes for your well-being. Let Revitalize Your Health guide you to your goals!


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Danielle B. January 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Thanks for the sugar lesson. When my mom feels low on energy, or a headache, her first inclination is to grab a can of caffeine-free coke! I’m always telling her to eat some protein, but she thinks the only thing that will help her low-sugar is liquid sugar. Bleah. I’ll send this her way!

Todd Cory January 29, 2013 at 6:36 pm
lydia February 3, 2013 at 9:05 am

I’ve watched that a bunch of times – good stuff Todd!

Todd Cory February 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm

thanks lydia… it was a real eye opener for me too.

i avoid high glycemic carbs now and my lipids are finally in a very good zone. have you tried stevia for sweetening? there are several soda manufacturers now who sweeten their products with stevia. sans, zevia & blue sky all make these.

lydia February 3, 2013 at 6:01 pm

I don’t prefer stevia. In the summer I grow it and use the fresh leaves in my tea.

Laura February 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Lydia, I read this article a few weeks ago through a friend’s link on Facebook. Great information! I followed a link – or three! – and read a great short article on drinking warm lemon water first thing in a.m. I am trying to track that down to send to a friend. (the logic behind it, not the “recipe”.) However, it is not coming up. does that ring a bell?

Jenn March 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Eating as many carbs as the Standard American Diet calls for just leads to more sugar cravings. When you eat carbs, your body burns carbs instead of fat, causing you to retain weight and crave more sugar. Drop the carbs from your diet, and the cravings will leave (except for hormonal cravings for women).

Todd Cory March 12, 2013 at 2:39 pm

“Drop the carbs from your diet, and the cravings will leave ”

i disagree… google “glycemic index of foods” and you will learn that carbs are not all alike.

there is a HUGE difference in how a high glycemic food like a white potato or pasta is metabolized compared to something slow, like hulled barely.

Jenn March 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm

It may be true that different carbs can affect your blood glucose levels in different ways, but we’re talking about sugar cravings. Cravings of this nature happen when you tell your body to use dietary sugars for fuel, instead of allowing your body to break down it’s fat stores and release fat as energy into your system. Did you know you can survive without carbohydrates as a food group, but not fat or protein? We’re built to compensate for varied diets and survive, but we’re talking about cravings here, which can be diet controlled. Have you ever done a low carb diet? I have, and not only did I lose weight, but I was never hungry and the cravings for sugar went away. It was nothing short of miraculous, from my perspective.

Todd Cory March 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm

high glycemic carbs are metabolized just like sugar. .. and offer the same cravings.

watch the video link i pasted above.

Jacqui March 13, 2013 at 4:25 pm

I eat sweets and cakes because I love them (cakes being my fave), and have a sweet tooth – always have had. Other than that my diet is high in fibre, veg, fresh fruit etc. Having “A hardboiled egg, a handful of nuts, carrots dipped in full fat ranch, a spoonful of coconut oil or peanut butter, sliced meat or cheese” is no alternative for a cake or some sweets when that’s what you fancy. Many say have fruit instead, but when you already eat lots of that anyway, that’s no alternative. The only fruit I can think of that is like eating a sweet is dates – fresh or semi-fresh, not those horrible dried things – but they’re darned expensive or I’d eat many more of them than I do!
Apart from sweets and cakes I eat very little other processed foods.
My weight’s fine for my build, and since diabetes runs in my family my blood sugar is tested once a year by my doc. I have plenty of energy anyway. It’s said a little of what you fancy does you good …. I believe that as long as a sensible approach is taken with what we eat, nothing should be taboo.

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