5 Reasons You’re Craving Sugar All The Time
You've just scoffed a massive plate of food, but somehow you still can't help reaching for the sweet stuff. What gives? Nutrition Coach Lyda Borgsteijn explains.
1. You’re addicted to it
“As a culture, we link powerful emotions to food associated with happy occasions,” says Lyda. That’s foods like birthday cake, the double chocolate muffin you have when you meet your mate for coffee, or the delish homemade apple crumble your mum makes when you’re home on the weekends.
The crux, though? Studies have shown that sugar has similar addictive qualities to crack cocaine, and basically, thanks to its overconsumption (Lyda tells us we’re eating approximately 34 times more of it now than we did 300 years ago) our bodies have actually become programmed to need something sweet.”
2. You have a deficiency
Sugar addiction aside, Lyda says that the modern lifestyle has also led us to become nutrient deficient, and in turn, sugar reliant. “This is due to an increased consumption of less nutrient-dense food and poor digestive health,” she explains. “Our body needs nutrients to complete metabolic tasks so if we are deficient in any nutrient the body will increase hunger until it gets what it needs.” What do we crave when we’re in this nutrient-lacking state? You guessed it: sugar.
3. You’re tired
Craving a bag of jellies to get your through the slump? “Studies consistently show that lack of sleep causes us to eat more and crave more,” explains Lyda. “Not only do we have more time in the day to actually eat, but trying to work and move in this suboptimal state also creates a bigger energy demand on the body. The easiest energy source to grab at? Glucose. And so the brain sends signals to eat lots of carbs.” Damn.
4. You’re stressed out
“Stress requires energy and drains us of nutrients, and a chronic stress response creates an unbalanced hormonal environment,” says Lyda. The problem? This can set us up to eat more and store fat. “It can also affect our mood in a way that we reach for food as an emotional crutch,” she warns.
5. You’re sucked in by advertising
“Just think about how many major cues you are exposed to via TV, the internet, magazine ads, billboards and restaurant signs,” says Lyda. “We are so ‘connected’ via the internet, technology and social media that these triggers are literally surrounding us all day every day. It’s no wonder our cravings are running rampant.”
Kicking the habit
Need help breaking the cycle? “Changing your bad habits requires two things: awareness and discipline,” says Lyda. “Start by keeping a food diary for a few days and do a stock take to pick out how often those sneaky sugars creep into your day.”
The next step? “Overall, it’s about breaking the craving cycle and reestablishing a hormonal balance,” Lyda explains. “This means getting quality sleep, eating nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods, managing stress, and spacing out meals roughly five hours apart to allow for fat burning and blood sugar balance.”
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