Sugar cravings are the worst enemy of a healthy diet! Not only do they cause you to snack between meals, but they make you eat the WRONG foods: sweet treats, cakes, candies, cookies, and all the other delicious things that are terrible for our health.
Have you ever wondered what causes those cravings? Is it just the addictive nature of sugar, or are there other things behind it?
One expert has an interesting take on cravings: “Your cravings mean something. They aren’t bad, and you’re not weak for having them.” Understanding what causes your cravings makes it possible for you to take the steps required to correct the problems that lead to your cravings.
Here are the four primary things causing your cravings:
Have you ever heard of “emotional eating”? It’s a pretty common problem among those dealing with a lot of stress, anxiety, and even depression.
You see, sugar stimulates the pleasure pathways in your brain, creating a “reward” sensation that temporarily boosts your mood. When you are feeling depressed, stressed, or anxious, your brain tells you that sugar will make you feel better. Thus, you end up craving sugar as a coping mechanism.
Sugar is as addictive as any drug thanks to its ability to increase dopamine levels, triggering the “feel good” sensation you start to crave. You’re not actually craving the sugar—what your body really wants is to feel better, and it believes sugar is the thing that will do the trick.
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Sometimes, when your body tells you that it needs to eat something, it’s really sending a message to your brain that you’re running low on energy.
Think of these cravings as the beep you hear when your phone battery is running low. The phone sends the alert so you’ll plug it into the power source and re-charge it. Your body does the same thing when it’s running low on energy. It triggers the appetite/hunger/craving mechanisms to let you know that it wants or needs more food to top up the energy stores.
Sadly, most of the time it sends the signal that it wants something rich in sugar—a quick source of energy. However, if you realize that your craving is caused by your body’s need for energy, you can redirect the desire for sugary sweets toward other foods: whole vegetables and fruits, whole grains, protein and healthy fats.
When your body is low on certain minerals, it sends signals to your brain that it needs more. Unfortunately, the brain often mistakenly translates these as cravings for unhealthy foods.
Take chocolate cravings, for example. When your brain tells you that you want to eat chocolate, it’s not always trying to satiate a sweet tooth. It may actually be responding to your body’s signal that it needs more magnesium, an important mineral in chocolate. Or take cravings for salty foods. Sometimes your body is low in sodium (after a vigorous workout) and it sends the signal to your brain to consume more salt. However, your brain translates this into a craving for chips, pretzels, peanuts, or other salty snacks.
Next time you get a craving, take a minute to analyze it. Is your body signaling that it needs a certain nutrient? If you’re not consuming sufficient minerals and vitamins, those cravings could your body’s cry for help.
Your home is home to billions of bacteria—some good, some bad.
The beneficial bacteria that live in your intestines are responsible for digestion, absorption of nutrients, pH balance, immune function, and more. However, if you follow a diet high in refined foods (including sugar), you provide the bad bacteria the food needed to grow out of control.
When you cut sugar and refined foods from your diet, that active bad bacteria sends signals that it needs to be fed—hence the cravings. The desire for sugar-rich, refined foods may be the result of the bad bacteria starving. In this case, NOT giving in to those cravings will help to restore a more natural bacterial balance in your body.
As you can see, cravings are fairly normal, and they can be your body’s way of letting you know it needs certain nutrients or energy. Examine those food cravings and try to decipher the signals your body is sending you. Either you need to give in to the cravings to provide the energy or nutrients required, or you need to fight the desire for refined and sugar-rich foods that fed bad bacteria and disease.
Goof for You Gluten Free – http://www.goodforyouglutenfree.com
Alexandra Jamieson – https://alexandrajamieson.com/
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