How to Overcome Sugar Cravings & Why You Have Them
If you’re craving sugar in the form of chocolate, doughnuts, candy, those green Haribo frog gummies that are inexplicably peach-flavored…the list goes on, this is how the majority of America operates.
Surely it must mean something about the inner workings of your body.
This can’t be a good thing, right? According to research, sugar is said to be as addictive as some street drugs, with similar effects on the brain(!). Excess sugar consumption may also lead to cavities, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a slew of other health problems. Knowing all of this, if you’re determined to stop eating sugar—but each day, you get tempted by a new sweet delicacy and thus, fall off the wagon (and into a pile of macarons perhaps), you’re not alone. Why can’t you quit something that’s so clearly bad for your health, my brain, and my body?
All around us, our fellow sugar worshippers bemoan the same question, all while stuffing more chewy morsels of sweets into their mouths. Let’s get to the root of the issue, and help find out what your sugar cravings mean, and hopefully, quell them.
Keep scrolling to find out what your sugar cravings are saying about your health.
The Type of Sugar Matters
First things first—before looking for answers, you need to identify the type of sugary food you are craving. If you’re craving chocolate, it could mean your body is deficient in magnesium, which is a really common deficiency these days. There’s a plus side to craving chocolate: Dark chocolate is actually full of antioxidants that can improve your health and decrease the risk of heart disease, according to research. Reach for the dark stuff (70% cacao content or higher), not the milk kind, to satisfy your sweet tooth without sabotaging your health.
If you’re craving fruit, then congratulations! This is one of the best cravings to have. Your body might be telling you it needs additional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Fruit cravings are fine and just an indicator your body is craving nutrients. However, it’s important not to overdo it. If you feel like you’re overdoing it with fruit, pair it with fat or protein. For example, eat a banana or apple with almond butter, berries with coconut yogurt, etc.
If, however, you’re craving sugary sweets that fall decidedly into the non-fruit, non–dark chocolate category, here’s what you need to know…
You May be Experiencing Blood Sugar Fluctuations
If you’re craving sweets all of a sudden, most likely you are experiencing blood sugar fluctuations. When your blood sugar drops, your body may be trying to get you to give it more fuel to keep your blood sugar levels stable. (If this happens chronically, this may indicate that you have hypoglycemia). To keep your blood sugar balanced, eating a healthy amount of protein and adding more high-fiber foods, like beans and legumes, to your diet, along with complex carbs. This will give you the fuel you need without the blood sugar spikes. Add more protein to your meals, so your blood sugar levels don’t drop. The body is a well-built machine, and if you are not giving it the right foods, it will say, ‘Give me sugar!’”. It wants energy for all the thousands of biological processes that are happening.
When your blood sugar drops, your body may be trying to get you to give it more fuel to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Check for Magnesium Deficiency
Make sure you are getting enough magnesium, which is a key for energy to enter our cells. MedlinePlus, which is part of The National Library of Medicine, states: “Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heartbeat steady, and helps bones remain strong.” Magnesium deficiency has been linked to everything from osteoporosis to type 2 diabetes to heart disease. (Plus, it might even help with insomnia and anxiety problems). When our body doesn’t have enough magnesium, it will have trouble bringing energy into the cells and thus, feel deprived and crave sugar
Make Sure You’re Hydrating to Curb Sugar Cravings
If you find yourself battling a serious sugar addiction, take things one day at a time. Before you satisfy cravings, drink a tall glass of spring water. We often misinterpret our body’s signal for thirst as a signal of hunger. By drinking water first, you may be giving your body exactly what it wants and alleviate the craving.
If you’re still craving sugar, try incorporating more protein into your diet alongside fermented foods and supplements that ensure you’re getting your daily dose of vitamins. Hopefully this can help you find out why you’re craving sugar and get on top of it for a healthier wellness for yourself!
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