From time to time we all get sugar cravings. Some people are much more susceptible than others though.
Read on if you’re in need of some help.
Here are what I think are five of the most common reasons and what to do about it:
- Evening Sugar Cravings – If you are eating a light breakfast and lunch and feeling good about yourself, only to get to dinner time and have your “healthy” dinner then crave twice as much dessert once you’ve finished, something is going wrong.
Most commonly it’s because you’re busy during the day and therefore can ignore your body’s messages for nutrients. By the evening though, having run on fumes (from a nutrient perspective) all day you are now low on the correct nutrients onboard and your appestat is signalling, KEEP EATING!
Tip – The simple fact is you probably need to eat a bit more like an eskimo than you do a mediterranean and your body is simply letting you know that what it received was not balanced properly.
Make sure you eat more protein and fat at breakfast and lunch and less starchy carbohydrates.
Starting the day with bread and cereal, fruit juices and cereal bars will set you up for a roller coaster of a blood sugar ride throughout the remainder of the day.
- Poorly Balanced Meal – Similar to the point above you may have eaten what you feel is a “healthy” meal but still feel that you could keep eating once you’ve finished your plate and what’s more, you really want sugary things!
Your meal wasn’t proportioned correctly, even if you had eaten a well balanced breakfast and lunch, this could be your downfall.
Tip – Remember to balance your plate of food by using a simple Palm – Fist – Tablespoon measuring system.
Palms are your protein source, fists are your carbs and a tablespoon is your fat.
When you’re hungry for sugar after a meal, try adding an extra palm of protein and tablespoon of fat to your meal. This very often takes the sugar craving away.
- Insufficient Fat – Each of your hormones requires fat. If you eat a diet low in fat or have done in the past, you are likely to crave sugar. In a study on alcoholics it was found by supplementing with high doses of cod liver oil (fat) a large percentage were able to give up drinking altogether. It was thought the alcoholism was a side affect of long-term fat deficiency and a diet high in sugars.
Tip – add cod liver oil to your supplement routine and make sure you are balancing it correctly with each meal. If you are having an amount of protein that feels enough, try adding an extra serving of fat (tbsp) until you reach the point of satisfaction.
For example – melting butter over steamed vegetables is a great way of adding extra fat to your meal.
If you’ve finished your meal and it’s an hour or so later when you’re craving sugar, go for a spoonful of your favourite nut butter.
- Adrenaline Junkie – If you’re used to running around on adrenaline because, well, that’s just the way you are, expect to be craving sugar at some point in the day.
With the increase of adrenaline in the blood comes the release of glucagon. This is the hormone that turns stored sugars into available sugars in the blood stream. After all your body thinks, with the increased adrenaline, that you’re going to need the extra energy.
The only thing is you probably don’t and then insulin comes along and takes the big surge of blood glucose down and CRASH! Now you are left gagging for anything sweet you can get your hands on.
Tip – The moment you notice you are running on adrenaline, stop! Take three deep breaths while saying to yourself “breathing in” on the in breath and “breathing out” on the out breath.
Now make sure that you have healthy meals planned and you carry a snack with protein and fat with you. If not use the adrenaline to get these things in place.
Just one final note on this point – If you are perpetually anxious and running on adrenaline it’s another indicator that you are long-time deficient in nutrients and eating incorrectly for your metabolic needs. Begin using the Palm – Fist – Tablespoon measuring system and get your meals right.
- Adrenal Fatigue – If you’re in the middle of a stressful period of your life, or you have come out the other side, there is a good chance you are suffering with some level of adrenal insufficiency (adrenal fatigue).
One of the simplest things to grab when you are feeling tired and sluggish often is sugar (along with caffeine). It happens, I know I’ve done it myself, but it retards your recovery from adrenal fatigue so making a plan now will speed the recovery process up.
Tip – Adrenal fatigue being an energy crisis for the body means it needs help producing and maintaining its energy at this time. Making sure you have warm foods that are well proportioned with fat and protein and not too much starch (pasta, rice, potato) will be the perfect way to avoid craving sugars as another form of energy.
Also snacking more (on the right things) will help to balance your energy throughout the day in this particular instance.
Hope this helps you reduce your sweet cravings over the coming weeks and months.