If you are someone who experiences frequent sugar cravings, I doubt I need to tell you how challenging they are to stop! The good news is, it can be done, but it takes addressing all the causes, including physical, mental, and emotional drivers.
What Causes Sugar Cravings?
#1 | You did not eat enough CALORIES, or you did not eat enough PROTEIN, FAT, & FIBER.
Not eating enough calories triggers your hormones to start looking for quick calories to catch up, and this commonly shows up as a sugar craving. It commonly happens mid-afternoon and the hours between dinner and bedtime.
90% of cravings will be significantly reduced when you are able to support healthy, normal blood sugar levels by eating enough protein, fat, and high-fiber foods.
#2 | The Craving has become a HABIT or a RITUAL.
When something becomes a habit or ritual, especially when it comes to food, you have to ask yourself: Are you even aware you’re doing it? Do you really want to be eating or drinking at that moment? Are you truly craving what you’re eating?
What new habit could be started at that time instead?
#3 | You are STRESSED, anxious, or sad.
Stress impacts the brain, which increases the desire to eat and the likelihood of food cravings. Stress also increases the hormone cortisol, which increases appetite – especially for sweet carbs.
#4 | GUT microbiome imbalances (neurotransmitters)
Serotonin and dopamine levels are the primary neurotransmitters that impact your desire to eat. Gut bacteria manufacture about 95% of the body's supply of serotonin and 50% of the body's dopamine. If the gut isn't healthy, neurotransmitter production becomes out of balance, which impacts appetite and mood.
#5 | GUT microbiome imbalances (yeast overgrowth)
Yeast (aka: candida) will increase cravings and your drive to eat certain foods. Some yeast in the gut is normal, but they feed off processed carbs, sugar, and alcohol. Eating high amounts of those foods can allow the candida population to grow too large and cause symptoms such as persistent & intense sugar cravings, fatigue, bloating, moodiness, and brain fog. Removing the candida's "food" will help tamper the overgrowth if it isn't extreme.
#6 | Poor SLEEP
Not getting enough quality sleep increases hunger, cravings, and calorie intake. Even a single night of sleep deprivation changes the levels of our hunger and appetite hormones, leading to increased hunger. It also affects the way your brain's motivation centers respond to the sight (or even the thought) of food.
What have you noticed about the cause of your cravings? Mine are almost always caused by the first reason I listed - not enough calories. It's easy for me to go hours without eating, but eventually my blood sugar drops and my body falls into a major calorie deficit. The cravings happen later in the day. Everyday, it's a conscious effort to eat enough, and especially focusing on protein, healthy fat, and a lot of vegetables.
I'd love to hear from you,