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 March as I teach a 6 week online course called; ‘Get Healthy To Lose Weight‘. Learn how to detox the sugar in your life, stop cravings, eat healthfully without deprivation and shed some pounds while you’re at it!
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Lydia Joy Shatney is a certified Nutritional Therapist Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association. Additionally, she is the chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation in Delaware County, Pa. (Find the group here on Facebook). Lydia is also a member of the Nourished Living Network. Lydia founded Divine Health in March of 2010. You can find Lydia on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.
Lydia offers specialized step by step counseling to transform your health. Personalized consultations to suit your specific needs are offered via phone, Skype or in person. Lydia offers a variety of packages offered to suit your individual needs. Contact Lydia today to get started as well as to learn more about what she has to offer you!